A new organization is forming to advocate against building a crude oil export terminal on Harbor Island and raise public awareness of the issue.
The group is called the Texas Coastal Coalition (TCC), which plans to file for 501 (c) (4) non-profit status, according to Tracey Carroll, a Port Aransas resident and spokesman for the organization.
The TCC has put together a website, texascoastalcoalition.com, which describes the group as “a non-partisan education and advocacy organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the economic and environmental prosperity of the Coastal Bend.”
The Port of Corpus Christi has been working for months to clear the way for construction of a crude oil export terminal on Harbor Island. The port has entered into an agreement with Lone Star Ports, a Berry Group company, to develop the terminal.
“Our mission is to educate Texans about the potential environmental and economic impacts of industrial development on Harbor Island in Port Aransas, while bringing together the voices of those who treasure the Texas Gulf Coast to advocate for a solution that works for industry, the environment and the community,” the TCC’s website says.
“The TCC believes the development of an offshore oil terminal provides a common sense alternative to the dredging and construction impacts of the Lone Star Ports project, a massive crude oil export terminal designed to load the largest crude oil ships in the world within the city limits of Port Aransas,” the website says.
The Harbor Island project “threatens the sensitive ecological areas, beaches, fishing, watersports and quality of life that are so important to our community and economy,” the website says.
Port of Corpus Christi officials have said the project won’t pose any undue threat to the environment and will provide a great economic benefit to the region.
Asked who some of the main people are who have been working together to get the TCC started, Carroll said:
“We have been in touch with people throughout the Port Aransas community and beyond to gauge the interest in supporting an organization that would provide a resource for information and a platform for the voices of businesses, homeowners and visitors to be heard. The response has been tremendous and as our recruitment efforts progress, we look forward to sharing our supporters.”
She added that there are “no corporate dollars involved,” and “private contributions have provided the seed money for this organization.”
Asked how many people the group has as members, she said: “Our named partner sign-ups to date have focused on local businesses. We have seven and growing, to be announced soon. Individual outreach begins in earnest with the launch of the campaign and the grassroots, digital and advertising operation. We are going to shake a lot of hands.”
Another citizens’ organization, the Port Aransas Conservancy, formed in 2018 to fight the port’s efforts on Harbor Island.
Carroll said the TCC isn’t affiliated with the Port Aransas Conservancy, “but we think there are a lot of complementary issues we have.”
Anyone who’d like to join the TCC can do so through the website, Carroll said.