LAKE JACKSON — Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Jones Creek Marshal William Tidwell and village Mayor Gordon Schlemmer spoke out against a proposed tank farm this week at a public scoping meeting.
Sentinel Midstream’s Texas GulfLink would build an oil-exporting facility 28.3 nautical miles off the coast of Brazoria County, 28.3 nautical miles of pipes in the water and another 21.9 miles of onshore pipes, according to a fact sheet. It would include a 13-tank storage terminal near Jones Creek, the sheet states.
The estimated $1 billion GulfLink project is competing with two others — Texas COLT, a joint venture of Enbridge and Oiltanking, and SPOT Terminal Services LLC. All of the projects have submitted applications with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration.
Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, Maritime Administration and AECOM, the Coast Guard’s environmental consultant, organized and moderated Wednesday’s meeting, which is a process required by law, Coast Guard Commander Myles Greenway said.
The organizers of the meeting are neither proponents nor opponents of the project, but collect public comment as part of the process to prepare an environmental impact statement, Greenway said.
The comments made become part of the public record and will be considered for the environmental impact statement, which is part of the permitting process, he said.
The unanimous consensus from all of the public comments was no one is concerned about the deepwater terminal, but they do not want the storage facility near Jones Creek residents.
Most business newcomers to Brazoria County visit Bonnen’s office and are welcomed, but GulfLink has not done that, Bonnen said at the meeting. That is the most concerning thing, Bonnen said, and makes him reluctant to support a project of this magnitude.
The county is open to business and industry, he said, but the issue with this project is the potential tank farm site.
“We are not short on open land and open space,” Bonnen said, adding there are better locations in the county.
Bonnen said the attendance of Wednesday’s meeting in a conference room of Courtyard by Marriott, which included more than 70 people, was “one hell of a turnout in proportion to the number of people affected.”
There are other locations for a tank farm in Brazoria County that will not fill a meeting room on a Wednesday evening, Bonnen said.
Schlemmer said the people trying to do this project are good people, but the residents will not be happy with it and do not want to be bombarded with things like it.
Jones Creek is a quiet community away from the industry of the county, Tidwell said.
“It does nothing for the city of Jones Creek,” Tidwell said. “It is outside the city limits, but it impacts us greatly.”
The Jones Creek Board of Aldermen passed a resolution opposing the COLT and GulfLink projects at its meeting Tuesday.
Texas GulfLink had a voluntary open house in Jones Creek in May, where company representatives heard similar concerns from residents about safety, aesthetics, traffic and drainage in the city.