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Harbor Island settlement nets $1M for Port Aransas FD

A map indicating where ships would be loaded and unloaded, according to a plan for a marine storage terminal on Harbor Island. Courtesy illustration

The Port Aransas Fire Department will receive $1 million over five years from the Port of Corpus Christi as part of a recent settlement between the port and the city of Port Aransas concerning industrial development on Harbor Island. The city also agreed to withdraw all comments and objections to the port’s marine terminal project and permit applications to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The two entities approved an interlocal agreement that provides a “workable framework” to negotiate development on the island, said Port Aransas Mayor Charles Bujan. Portions of Harbor Island are within the Port Aransas city limits.

“Hopefully, this agreement can serve as a springboard for continued discussions with the Port on Harbor Island and on other matters of mutual concern between the Port and the City,” Bujan said in a statement.

The Port Aransas Conservancy, which opposes further industrial development on or near Harbor Island, said the agreement “does not clear the way for construction of a crude oil terminal for VLCC,” according to a statement from the conservancy. VLCC stands for Very Large Crude Carrier.

“The Port of Corpus Christi has not secured the environmental permits or the private financing necessary to proceed, nor has it justified to the citizens of Nueces County the ecological and economic risk the project entails,” the statement reads. “The settlement simply puts to rest current litigation regarding the marina lease and Harbor Island permitting requirements, while relieving the City of Port Aransas the massive taxpayer-funded legal costs associated with that litigation.”

The Interlocal Cooperation Agreement and Compromise Settlement Agreement will continue through March 31, 2038, or until terminated by mutual written agreement between both entities.

In the agreement, the city agrees to the development of marine terminals capable of servicing VLCCs as well as the dredging that will make it possible for those large vessels to dock at Harbor Island for loading. Any development within the city limits will be subject to third-party inspections. Both parties will share the cost of hiring a third-party inspector if needed.

The agreement also includes an item forbidding the city to provide financial or technical support to any entity or group opposing the air permit before the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

The city of Port Aransas' lease of the marina from the port, which the port rescinded after the city filed a lawsuit against Harbor Island development, has been extended to March 31, 2048. The port will withdraw its lease termination issued in September last year.

A joint letter between the entities will be sent to state Sen. Lois W. Kolkhorst informing her that the city no longer opposes the port’s desalination facility, the Lone Star Ports LLC Harbor Island project, or the marine terminal project.

The city further agrees not to enact zoning changes on any land owned or controlled by the Port Authority on Harbor Island.

Both entities agreed to dismiss all litigation between them.

The Port Aransas Conservancy announced it will continue to fight industrial development on Harbor Island to protect the “community from the impacts of this misguided project on our natural resources, safety and economy.”

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There are 1 comments.

Daniel Poundstone —
You can't honestly think that is a lot of money

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