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South Texas’ Indigenous tribes seek to block Moda Midstream’s terminal expansion

April 2, 2021

Corpus Christi Caller-Times
By Kathryn Cargo
Original article here

Moda Midstream’s plans to expand its crude oil export terminal in Ingleside could disturb a site sacred to the Indigenous Karankawa and other tribes in the Coastal Bend, a Corpus Christi-based inter-tribal nonprofit organization says in a letter to federal regulators.

The terminal is located at the confluence of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel and La Quinta Ship Channel at near Ingleside on the Bay. The Moda Ingleside Energy Center sits on more than 900 acres of land that will allow for future expansion.

“Moda wants to expand their oil export terminal and they are already violating the bluff where our artifacts and human remains have been found,” said Love Sanchez, Karankawa of the nonprofit intertribal group, Indigenous People of the Coastal Bend. “This was a campsite of the Karankawa people and must be preserved from this polluting facility.”

The Environmental Integrity Project sent a letter Wednesday to the Environmental Protection Agency requesting the agency to enforce the Clean Air Act protections against the expansion. The EIP did so on behalf of the Indigenous People of the Coastal Bend.

They say the proposed project would violate the act by generating air pollution.

Moda is investing $300 million to $500 million to make the center at 1450 Lexington Blvd. in Ingleside a “key energy hub” for crude oil by accommodating Very Large Crude Carriers. VLCCs are about 1,100 feet long — roughly the length of three football fields — and 200 feet wide, and can carry up to 2 million barrels of crude oil.

The local Indigenous group also says the expansion would increase “deadly” pollution, including hydrogen sulfides/sulfur dioxide. The pollution would impact communities of Ingleside on the Bay, Ingleside. It would also affect a Corpus Christi area with Indigenous, Black, and low-income communities.

According to a group news release, the compounds that Moda proposes to increase are dangerous to human health causing asthma, bronchitis, cardio-pulmonary obstructive disorder, heart disease, strokes, and cancer.

“Moda is already endangering life on the bay – both people’s lives and wildlife,” said Melissa Zamora, Mexika/Coahuiltecan with the group.

Moda’s existing storage capacity at its Ingleside terminal is about 2.1 million barrels, with work underway to construct an additional 10 million barrels of storage through additional tanks.

The future expansion would allow from “basin to berth” deliveries of crude from the Cactus II Pipeline, Gray Oak Pipeline and EPIC Crude Oil Pipeline. The company already receives oil from the Cactus I pipeline used to transport sweet crude from the Permian Basin.

Last week, the Sierra Club also sent a request on behalf of the group to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, opposing the expansion.

Next week, a coalition of Gulf Coast organizations plan to ask Biden Administration officials to stop all proposed crude oil export terminals on the Gulf Coast.

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