US court Upholds License for Deepwater Oil-Export Facility

April 4, 2024

© Juozas55 / Adobe Stock
© Juozas55 / Adobe Stock

A U.S. appeals court on Thursday upheld federal approval of a deepwater oil-export facility planned off the Texas Gulf Coast, saying the proposed Enterprise Products Partners facility had met environmental review criteria.

Environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, had called for a review arguing that the project's environmental assessment failed to fully assess the danger of oil spills, emissions or its effect on protected marine life.

The U.S. Maritime Administration "adequately considered the environmental consequences of the facility before approving its deepwater port license," Judge Dana Douglas wrote on behalf of a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel.

The maritime agency "reasonably concluded" that excess crude oil in the U.S. would be exported through means other than through the proposed port, judge Douglas wrote.

"We hold that the agency took a hard look at the environmental consequences of the Port, offered enough detail for the public to understand and consider the pertinent environmental influences involved," she wrote, calling the agency's decision "informed."

Enterprise received a record of decision, a major milestone for its Sea Port Oil Terminal late last year. But the pipeline operator has yet to receive a U.S. license for the project and has not disclosed a final investment decision.


(Reuters - Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Houston; Editing by David Gregorio)

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