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Stop this massive oil terminal and protect the Gulf

778
Supporters Spoke up in this Action
Delivery to U.S. Maritime Administration

Action Ended On

June 2, 2020

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action to speak out against the Sea Port Oil Terminal! MARAD has officially delayed SPOT's timeline for approval, giving Earthjustice and partners more time to rally against the project. Earthjustice's attorneys are continuing the fight against the oil industry throughout the Gulf — and your actions and support makes our work stronger. We'll keep you updated as this work moves ahead.

What was at Stake

Oil giants Enterprise Products Partners and Chevron want to build a massive crude oil storage facility, offshore pipeline, and export terminal off the coast of Freeport, Texas. These projects would unleash an extraordinary amount of carbon at a time when we need to begin phasing out fossil fuels.

Called the Sea Port Oil Terminal, or SPOT, the project would export up to 2 million barrels of crude oil per day to foreign markets on some of the world’s largest ships. Ten years after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, we cannot afford to build infrastructure that puts Texas communities and wildlife at risk of another catastrophic spill.

SPOT’s annual transportation capacity would be greater than the total amount of oil produced in the Gulf of Mexico each year. It’s impossible to move this much oil without error — estimates based on government models indicate that SPOT would generate 568 spills over a 30-year period, including 20 large spills of more than 42,000 gallons each. The Texas Gulf Coast has already felt the impacts of oil spills on human health, and the government shouldn’t allow the oil industry to blatantly disregard the health of our communities and ecosystems for the sake of profits.

Stopping SPOT requires more than a focus on one facility. The oil industry is lining up several similarly sized projects that they hope to rush through if they are given the green light for SPOT. Gulf communities are already being displaced by the climate crisis as rising seas swallow our coastlines. The massive amount of oil transported by SPOT and its subsequent spills would displace even more people while putting entire ecosystems in jeopardy.

We can’t afford to lose this fight — SPOT must be stopped now. Earthjustice is fighting back against the oil industry throughout the Gulf, and we need your support. Tell the government they cannot approve SPOT. We have until June 1 to tell the Maritime Administration to protect our Gulf Coast from the oil industry.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In this March 12, 2020, photo, a heron walks on the beach looking for food in Orange Beach, Ala. As oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico from a blown-out BP well in 2010, residents wondered whether their home would ever be the same. The Deepwater Horizon disaster changed the region, with a flood of spending altering landscapes and attitudes.

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

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You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue. Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn more about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.