Port of Houston Deepening Project Hits Legal Snag

Wednesday, February 20, 2002
The Port of Houston Authority Commissioners voted recently to appeal the U.S. District Court's January 25 ruling that the Port should pay for the removal and relocation of pipelines to accommodate the widening and deepening of the Houston Ship Channel. "We believe Congress clearly specified in 1996 that pipeline owners, not the taxpayers of Harris County, should pay for the removal and relocation of pipelines needed to widen and deepen the Ship Channel," said Port Chairman James T. Edmonds. "The companies operating terminals along the Ship Channel are the primary beneficiaries of these Ship Channel improvements, and we believe -- with Congress and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- that these companies, and not the public, should pay for the pipelines removal." The Port of Houston Authority owns and operates the public facilities along the Port of Houston, a 25-mile-long complex of diversified public and private facilities that handle more than 175 million short tons of freight worth more than $60 billion annually. The Port Authority plays a vital role in ensuring navigation safety along the Houston Ship Channel, a key economic catalyst for the city since the Port of Houston first opened to deep-water vessels in 1914. The Port is the source of more than 200,000 direct and related jobs and generates about $525 million annually in state and local taxes. The Port of Houston ranks first in the U.S. in foreign waterborne commerce and second in total tonnage. Each year, more than 7,000 vessels from around the world call at the Port.

The Houston Ship Channel is being deepened to 45 feet from its current depth of 40 feet, and widened to 530 feet from 400 feet, in order to safely move and efficiently handle large international cargo ships. In 1989, the voters authorized the Port's participation in the widening and deepening project. To make way for the deepening and widening, 87 pipelines that carry a variety of materials including chemicals and crude oil must be removed. The pipeline owners have indicated that in many cases, they want to relocate the pipelines under the Ship Channel. The United States Army Corps of Engineers, which is implementing the project, estimated that the cost to remove and relocate the pipelines will exceed $100 million.

History of the Dispute

In 1996, the U.S. Congress authorized the deepening and widening project in accordance with a feasibility study the Corps prepared. That study required the owners to pay for the cost of removing and relocating the pipelines. In 1998, pursuant to powers granted it by Congress, the Corps told the pipeline owners to move the pipelines. In November 1998, the pipeline owners, rather than bear the costs of moving and relocating the pipelines themselves, sued the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Port of Houston Authority asking the Court to require the Port and the taxpayers to pay for the pipeline removal and relocation.

On January 25, 2002, a U.S. District Judge ruled for the pipeline owners and against the Corps and the Port. The Judge ordered that the letters the Corps sent the pipeline owners requiring them to pay for the pipeline removal be amended to require the Port to pay for the removal and relocation.

Maritime Today

The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter November 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds


Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar JV is 5

On 23 November 2015, Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar celebrated its first 5 years of operation. With 40 vessels delivered or under construction, the yard has proven

Deltamarin to Designs First LNG Handysize Bulk Carriers

Deltamarin Ltd proudly announces that it has signed a contract to design the world’s first LNG handysize bulk carriers, which will point the way towards greener shipping of commodities.

Wärtsilä's' Digital Services for Performance Enhancement

Wärtsilä, a global leader in complete lifecycle solutions for the marine and energy markets, launches a new service portfolio, Wärtsilä Genius services to help


Suez Canal Pacts with SCCT-Maersk

Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Vice Admiral Mohab Mamish, signed a settlement agreement with the Suez Canal Container Terminal (SCCT-Maersk), says Daily News Egypt.

Available: 300 Free Systems; Wanted: 300 Ships

Which will be the first 300 ships in the world to test and validate Sea Traffic Management (STM) with updated systems free-of-charge?   As the shipping domain

Asia Fuel Oil-Cracks, Spreads Tight; Bunker Prices Climb

Asia's fuel oil crack for benchmark 180-centistroke rebounded to a discount of $6.79 a barrel on Wednesday, gaining as bunker prices firmed on the possibility of

Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Naval Architecture Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.0749 sec (13 req/sec)