Rebekah Staub, firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON — The EPA has granted air pollution permits for Sea Port Oil Terminal (SPOT), a proposed offshore oil export terminal off the coast of Freeport, Texas that would increase toxic air pollution in Brazoria County, which already fails to meet national clean air standards for ozone. These permits give SPOT approval to increase air pollution under the Clean Air Act, but does not guarantee that air pollution levels will not exceed permit allowances or levels harmful to public health and the environment.
The agency failed to respond to requests from frontline communities to reopen the permit comment period and consider installing more effective pollution controls or address the potential to further harm public health in the region from ozone pollution. If SPOT emits what its permit allows, it could be the second worst emitter of volatile organic compounds in the state and would be the largest crude oil export facility in the US.
The decision does not impact the lawsuit environmental and community groups filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation over its approval of SPOT. The company still has to be granted a deepwater port license from the Maritime Administration (MARAD) before they can move forward with construction.
Statement from Melanie Oldham, founder and director of Better Brazoria:
“Allowing the SPOT project to move forward breaks every promise President Biden has made on climate action and environmental justice. Millions of people living in the greater Houston region including Freeport, where the EPA recently downgraded air quality to severely violating the health standards for smog pollution, will breathe dirtier air because of this project.”