Posted on December 4, 2023
The city council of Beach City voted 4-0 this week for a resolution opposing a proposed Cedar Port Navigation District Channel Deepening Project.
The vote was meant to send a message to federal officials that the residents believe the proposed 415-foot wide, 50-foot deep channel will destroy residents’ waterfront property as well as the ecology.
“The (final) vote will not involve the city, or the county,” Beach City Mayor Ken Pantin said. “It will be strictly the federal legislators.
“Ours is strictly a resolution to let state and federal officials know we’re opposed to it.”
Cedar Port, located just north and west of Beach City, is the largest master-planned rail- and barge-served industrial park in the United States covering 15,000 acres with more than 23 million square feet of industrial and manufacturing warehouses existing or under construction.
The project area includes the Cedar Bayou Navigation Channel and portions of Tabbs Bay, Trinity Bay and Galveston Bay adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel in Chambers and Harris counties. The project also includes the existing Cedar Port terminal at Cedar Port Industrial Park
Currently, the Cedar Bayou Navigation Channel is a federally authorized five-mile shallow water barge channel that supports more than 1.5 million tons of cargo per year.
In late September, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a notice of intent to prepare a draft feasibility report and environmental impact statement for the Deepening Project. In its filing, the Corps of Engineers said, “the purpose of the project is to evaluate the feasibility and Federal Interest in providing a deep-water connection between the Houston Ship Channel and a planned deepwater terminal facility at Cedar Port Industrial Park.
“The Cedar Port deepwater terminal would provide an alternative port facility to accommodate projected volumes and alleviate congestion within the upper reaches of the Houston Ship Channel … Expected impacts include short- and long-term impacts to existing aquatic habitats, fish and wildlife … water quality, air quality, noise and recreation features.”
Public meetings were held in October in Harris and Chambers counties and a public comment period has ended.
According to the Corps of Engineers, the draft environmental impact statement is expected to be available in the early winter of 2024.
“After those meetings, our citizens made their feelings heard and we drafted the resolution stating the concerns of the citizens,” Pantin said. “The citizens are concerned. They’re afraid of silting of the bay, what the dredge will do to the bay.”
The mayor said the resolution will be sent to Texas’ two U.S. Senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and U.S. Representative Brian Babin, whose district includes Chambers County. Also, State Sen. Mayes Middleton and State Rep. Terri Leo Wilson will get a copy.
“It’s going to be a long, hard road to go,” Pantin said. “Obviously, the Port of Houston is behind it. Harris County will probably weigh in, too. Congress will be the ones that have to authorize the funds.
“It’s going to be a long process.”
A copy of the resolution follows and a map of proposed and alternate channel routes is attached.
RESOLUTION NO. 2023-03
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF BEACH CITY TEXAS, OPPOSING THE DEEPENING AND EXPANSION FOR THE CEDAR POINT CHANNEL PROJECT DEVELOPMENT.
WHEREAS, the City of Beach City Council has both the responsibility and the authority to
protect the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of Beach City, Chambers County, Texas, and their property interests;
WHEREAS, interests outside the City of Beach City are pushing to develop a container terminal
bordering the City of Beach City.
WHEREAS, the deepening of the Houston Ship Channel has already silted up much of the bay area adjacent to the City of Beach City. Expanding the Houston Ship Channel will only worsen the silting of the bay and result in detrimental eﬀects on the sea life and wildlife across Galveston and Trinity Bays. Additional silting will not only aﬀect sea life and wildlife but also aﬀect the many sportsmen that enjoy the bay and those that make their living oﬀ the bay.
WHEREAS, expansion of the Houston Ship Channel would increase erosion along the shoreline of the City of Beach City; and
WHEREAS, a container terminal would endanger the lives of the citizens of the City of Beach City with increased truck traﬃc and increased light and sound pollution; now therefore, be it
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BEACH CITY, TEXAS, as follows:
Section 1. Opposes the extension of the Houston Ship Channel to near the City of Beach City and the development of a container terminal on land adjacent to the City of Beach City.
Section 2. Requests that any interested parties should be required to obtain consent from the City of Beach City or the citizens of Beach City prior to using public money for projects that will be detrimental to the City of Beach City.
Section 3. Requests that congress should not authorize any funds for the expansion of the Houston Ship Channel near the City of Beach City without the input of the City of Beach City or the citizens of Beach City.
Section 4. Opposes additional expansion of the Houston Ship Channel that will result in additional silting of the bay and additional destruction of the reefs and habitat in the bay;
Section 5. Recognizes that there will not be any way to prevent soil erosion due to ship traﬃc. The only solution is to not develop a deep water ship channel near the City of Beach City; and
Section 6. Encourages state, county, and local governments to oppose the development of a container terminal near the City of Beach City.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT THIS RESOLUTION be spread upon the minutes of the City of Beach City, City Council this 28th day of November, 2023 and distributed to others as may be deemed appropriate.
PASSED, ADOPTED AND APPROVED by the City Council of the City Beach City this the 28th day of November, 2023.