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Another Harbor Island Lawsuit

Industrial development on Harbor Island in Port Aransas has drawn criticism from residents who fear it will harm the city’s tourism industry and the environment. It is also the subject of two recent lawsuits. Courtesy photo

A proposed marine terminal on Harbor Island in Port Aransas was the subject of another lawsuit that was eventually withdrawn after the two parties reached a settlement agreement. Lone Star Ports LLC filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit against the Carlyle Group in Houston on October 7. The investment firm recently pulled out of an agreement with the Berry Group to form Lone Star Ports LLC and fund the $1 billion oil and gas terminal.

Settlement terms were not disclosed.

The Carlyle Group and the Barry Group announced their joint venture on Harbor Island in March, signing a 50-year lease for the property. Working as Lone Star Ports, they planned to build the nation’s first onshore export terminal designed to load and unload very large crude carriers, which can carry up to 2 million barrels of oil.

The terminal was part of the Port of Corpus Christi’s channel dredging project, now underway, to deepen and widen a passage into the Corpus Christi Channel. With a series of pipelines now online and nearing competition, the oil and gas is on its way to the area for processing and exporting.

Already the nation’s energy port, the Port of Corpus Christi has climbed from fourth- to third-largest port in terms of tonnage. Demand for export, the proximity of the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin shale plays, and existing and planned refineries and LNG plants have combined to make the Coastal Bend a center of growth and activity for the energy industry.

The Berry Group, now sole owners of Lone Star Ports, announced it intends to continue with plans for a terminal on Harbor Island, one of two planned. Axis Midstream Corp. filed paperwork with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in August for the second terminal, which is to include a series of pipelines from Taft to Harbor Island.

The second lawsuit involving Harbor Island was filed by the Port of Corpus Christi against Port Aransas after its city council approved a 60-day moratorium on issuing building permits on the island. City and port officials have held at least one meeting behind closed doors to discuss how to settle their differences.

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