Texas Gov. Authorizes Creation of Houston Ship Channel Security District

Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Texas Gov. Rick Perry signs House Bill 3011, authorizing creation of the authorizing creation of the Houston Ship Channel Security District. Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed into law House Bill 3011, authorizing creation of the Houston Ship Channel Security District -- the nation's first of its kind and modeled after a management district. The signing took place at the Port of Houston Authority Executive Office Building.

The Texas Legislature, in its 80th biannual session, authorized the creation of the Houston Ship Channel Security District -- an entity, proponents hope, that will serve as a security model for ports throughout the United States. The brainchild of Port of Houston Authority Chairman Jim Edmonds, HSCSD is a public-private partnership designed to help improve security within the Houston Ship Channel area by assisting with the local share and operations and maintenance cost of security infrastructure.

The district will be governed by a board of directors with staggered two-year terms. At least eight directors from the private petrochemical, chemical and refinery industries will be selected to represent the district's security zones. Two representatives of each zone will be selected by a majority of facility owners within each zone. Other directors will be a representative of the port authority, a director appointed by the county, and a final director appointed by the Harris County Mayors and Councils Association. The next step in the process will involve distribution of a petition to be signed by 50 percent of the facilities within the district and 50 percent of the facilities representing the assessed value of the district. Once signed, the petition will go to Harris County Commissioners, who will then vote on whether to approve the district.

The security district's predecessor was the Port Strategic Security Council, formed three years ago after U.S. Homeland Security Department officials visited the Port of Houston and explained what criteria went into determining how much in security grants ship channel industries would receive. Representatives of ship channel businesses were told the department was looking for a port to apply for grants that woul address port-wide security issues in addition to facility-by-facility needs. Funding increased over the next two years and the challenge then became how to fund the continued operation of security devices, such as Closed Circuit TV cameras, patrol boats and virtual fences. HB 3011 was officially signed by the Governor on June 15, 2007, shortly after it passed the Legislature.

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