Group asks court to rescind permit related to desal plant
The Port Aransas Conservancy submitted a petition on March 14 requesting that a Travis County district court rescind a wastewater discharge permit for the Port of Corpus Christi’s proposed desalination plant granted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
In its petition, the group claimed that TCEQ’s issuance of the permit in 2022 was “replete with error.” The state agency’s decision, the petition said, was “arbitrary and capricious, not in accordance with law, marked by procedural or other legal error, contrary to substantial evidence on the record.”
The document also refers to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency objections to TCEQ issuing the permit. At that time, the state of Texas classified the proposed Harbor Island plant as a “minor facility,” a classification that usually avoids federal oversight and one with which EPA has taken issue.
That same week, TCEQ, in a letter to the EPA, addressed some of the federal agency’s objections to the plant, citing a 1998 pact between the two agencies that agreed that TCEQ would handle National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits. The EPA changed that agreement in September 2021 to require federal oversight of desalination plant permit applications, a move TCEQ’s letter characterized as retroactive.
Travis County 261st District Court Judge Daniella DeSeta Lytle will hear the Port Aransas group’s petition.
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