The Sierra Club, the Center for Biodiversity, and several local environmental groups filed a Petition for Review (PFR) challenging the action of the US Maritime Administration (MARAD) relating to the Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT). According to Sierra Club’s press release, the groups seek review of the Record of Decision and underlying Environmental Impact Statement issued by MARAD the US Coast Guard regarding SPOT.
Deepwater Port Act
The proposed SPOT location is 30 miles off the Texas Gulf Coast; it will be connected by pipeline to a facility in Brazoria County, Texas. According to the press release, the groups filed the PFR in the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit “pursuant to the Deepwater Port Act.”
Alleged Deficient Environmental Assessment
The press release asserts MARAD “failed to adequately assess the devastating oil spill risk and species harms from SPOT’s construction and operation.” Among the alleged failures, “MARAD ignored new information about risks to the Rice’s whale, one of the most endangered marine mammals on Earth, with a population of less than 50 individuals exclusively inhabiting the Gulf of Mexico. The species experienced nearly a 22% loss in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster; experts predict that SPOT will cause hundreds of oil spills during the project’s lifetime, which, along with increased vessel traffic and noise activities, could lead to the species’ extinction.”
To see the press release, which includes a link to the PFR https://www.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2023/01/lawsuit-challenges-approval-sea-port-oil-terminal
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