Gulf of Mexico
A proposed pipeline would pass through Surfside Beach, one of the areas where the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle nests.

TX - Environmental Concerns Grow Around Proposed Deepwater Oil Port

Even as the price of Texas crude has plummeted, plans are moving forward for a major oil exporting terminal off the coast of Brazoria County. But residents and environmentalists are worried the project would impact public health and wildlife, including endangered sea turtles.

Surfside Beach sits about an hour south of Houston. With a population of roughly 600, the quiet beach town is surrounded by nature. It butts up against the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, home to more than 400 species of birds, and the endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles lay their eggs on its beaches.

“We have butterfly migrations that come through; every kind of coastal bird you can think of,” said Donna Robinson, who has lived in Surfside for over 20 years. “It’s just a very quaint, lovely, community with lovely people that live here.”

Now, Surfside sits in the path of a major oil project from two midstream operators, Enterprise and Enbridge, who want to build a deepwater oil port 30 miles offshore. Called the Sea Port Oil Terminal, or SPOT, it would be able to load large tankers that can transport up to 2 million barrels of oil at a time.

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