The Biden administration provoked national outrage this week by approving an oil export project off the coast of Texas—despite pledging to battle the climate emergency, including at COP27, the United Nations summit that just wrapped up in Egypt.
The new license for the Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT) came from the Maritime Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, on Monday after a three-year review.
“Our Gulf Coast communities are already sick because of the fossil fuel industry. We’ve made it clear with letters, protests, and studies that we can’t take another oil or gas operation pumping toxic chemicals and dangerous greenhouse gas emissions into neighborhoods and the climate,” Sierra Club Gulf Coast campaign representative Rebekah Hinojosa said in a statement Tuesday.
“What will it take for the Biden administration and regulators to hear Gulf Coast voices over industry lobbyists?” Hinojosa asked. “They’ve sold out communities again by approving the application for SPOT.”
As the Houston Chronicle reported earlier this year, Enterprise plans to build the terminal “about 30 miles south of Freeport. A pipeline would transport crude from the company’s pipeline network in Houston to Surfside, where it would cut under the beach before heading 30 miles offshore to the port.”
The newspaper noted Tuesday that though “the regulatory approval doesn’t necessarily mean the project will be built,” Enterprise welcomed the development, saying that “it is gratifying to see the Maritime Administration recognize the significant environmental and maritime safety advantages of SPOT compared to current industry practice.”
Meanwhile, Stop SPOT & GulfLink campaigner Donna Robinson said Tuesday that “Enterprise has a terrible spill record, and they choose to run these pipelines right up our ass.”
“We are against this oil project because it will do nothing but contribute pollution to our already dangerously dirty air and increase the chances of yet another oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico,” the Surfside Beach resident added.
Lauren Parker, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute, stressed that projects like SPOT impact not only local communities but also the entire planet.
“Exporting oil and gas unleashes climate calamity on the U.S. and the world,” Parker warned. “Biden needs to respect the science, the law, and his own climate goals by keeping these dangerous fossil fuel projects off our coasts.”
Originally published at Commondreams.org.