The Biden administration has quietly approved plans to build a new crude oil terminal in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas, seemingly in contradiction to the president’s past comments on the consumption of fossil fuels and carbon emissions.
The Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) approved the application (pdf) for Enterprise’s Sea Port Oil Terminal, one of four proposed offshore oil export terminals, on Monday.
According to the application, the port will be located offshore of Freeport, Texas. It will have 4.8 million barrels of storage capacity and add 2 million barrels per day to the U.S. oil export capacity.
The decision comes as energy prices across the United States have soared, which many have blamed on Biden’s energy policies that have hampered domestic U.S. energy production.
In its 94-page decision (pdf), MARAD said that it had granted the approval because the construction and operation of the port is “in the national interest and consistent with other policy goals and objectives.”
“The construction and operation of the Port is in the national interest because the Project will benefit employment, economic growth, and U.S. energy infrastructure resilience and security,” the administration wrote. “The Port will provide a reliable source of crude oil to U.S. allies in the event of market disruption and have a minimal impact on the availability and cost of crude oil in the U.S. domestic market.”
The statement implies that the port will be for export of fossil fuels for use by other countries.
Protests Over Planned Oil Terminal
The decision states that the project will expand an existing Enterprise Crude Houston-operated terminal located in Houston and will generate 62 permanent jobs over 30 years. Additionally, 1,400 temporary construction jobs will be created, with the majority of the workforce being hired from existing labor pools in Texas and Louisiana, according to the application.
In July, MARAD issued an 890-page impact statement in which it said that oil processed at SPOT would create greenhouse gas emissions equal to 233 million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The Environmental Protection Agency quietly issued its own approval (pdf) of the project in October but stressed that “more emphasis is needed to ensure that environmental justice and climate change considerations are included in the project for the protection of overburdened communities.”
Protests broke out shortly after on the Gulf Coast, The Texas Tribune reported, with some activists condemning the move and pointing to the fact that President Joe Biden has prioritized issues such as climate change and clean energy incentives during his time in office.
Biden has vowed to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and to end fossil fuels, on which the modern world is highly dependent and from which the U.S. gets two-thirds of its energy.
He canceled the Keystone pipeline that was revived by former President Donald Trump and which was expected to carry around 800,000 barrels of oil per day into the United States.
Many Republican leaders believe his policies have contributed to soaring energy costs and low supplies.
‘Peak Hypocrisy for President Biden’
Despite this, Greenpeace promptly took aim at the Biden administration’s decision regarding the new oil terminal, stating that the new terminal would “emit over 300 million tons of carbon dioxide every year polluting the air and water of Brazoria and Harris counties in Texas while creating serious health threats for everyone living there.”
“It is peak hypocrisy for President Biden and Secretary [of Transportation] Pete Buttigieg to shorten the fuse on the world’s largest carbon bomb by greenlighting additional oil export terminals right after lecturing the world about increasing climate ambitions at COP27,” the independent global campaigning network added.
“This approval seems particularly tone-deaf just days after COP27 wraps with the U.S. theoretically championing a phaseout of all fossil fuels,” said Collin Rees, U.S. program manager with Oil Change International.
A recent study by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity found that Biden’s anti-fossil fuel policies cost the U.S. economy $100 billion a year.
Additionally, the study found that the U.S. would be producing between 2 and 3 million more barrels of oil a day and between 20 and 25 more billion cubic feet of natural gas,” under former President Donald Trump’s policies.
The approval of the Sea Port Oil Terminal would facilitate the safe and efficient long-term loading of large crude carriers while simultaneously slashing oil transportation costs and reducing ship collision risks among other issues, according to officials.
“Compared to facilities and processes used today, this project will create a safer, more efficient mechanism for exporting oil, and will play a key role in facilitating U.S. energy security,” a Maritime Administration spokesperson said in a statement to The Texas Tribune.
A MARAD spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email that it is “working with the U.S. Coast Guard and, in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, and other federal, state, and local agencies, recently issued a Record of Decision, with conditions, for the SPOT Terminal Services LLC (SPOT) application to own, construct, operate, and eventually decommission a deepwater port facility.”
“Compared to facilities and processes used today, this project will create a safer, more efficient mechanism for exporting oil, and will play a key role in facilitating U.S. energy security as the nation works towards a cleaner energy future,” it said. “The project will create new construction jobs. SPOT must comply with all state and federal permitting, mitigation, and related requirements outlined in the ROD before beginning construction.”
UPDATE: This article has been updated to include a statement from MARAD.