The Port of Houston Authority (PHA) commission approved several recommendations involving contract awards, bids and proposals, professional services and general administrative and operational matters during its meeting on Monday, January 26. Chairman Jim Edmonds presided
over the public meeting.
The commission approved recommendations to issue purchase orders to Motorola, Inc., Dictaphone Corporation, and SBC, respectively, for radio system equipment, voice recorder equipment, and telephone lines that will be installed in the PHA's Emergency Command Center. The combined total amount of the purchase orders is not expected to exceed $385,000.
The commission also approved a recommendation to authorize an interlocal agreement between PHA and the Harris County Central Technology Regional Radio Center
to install equipment and provide personnel training for the radio system at the command center. The system is expected to be a vital link between PHA and other governmental and law enforcement agencies throughout Harris and the surrounding counties. The estimated cost of the agreement is not expected to exceed $30,000.
The continuous development and implementation of PHA's security plans includes a top-to-bottom approach involving people, physical infrastructure and technologies. Meanwhile, PHA continues an aggressive pursuit of federal port security grants. In the past two years, the federal government has announced more than $13 million in grants for various security projects at PHA, including the emergency command center, high-tech communications systems, closed-circuit television cameras and monitoring devices, access controls, fencing, lighting, and
security risk assessments.
The commission rejected all competitive sealed proposals that had been received for the potential negotiation and awarding of a contract for the construction of Phase 1A of the Bayport Container and Cruise Terminal. The commissioners determined that obtaining new CSPs would provide the best value for PHA, and authorized re-advertisement for receipt of new CSPs.
On January 5, PHA Executive Director Tom Kornegay and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Leonard Waterworth signed the federal permit for the Bayport project, marking the critical step in the process to build the $1.2 billion terminal. The Corps has studied the port authority's Bayport terminal for more than five years, reviewing the site location and the environmental impacts the terminal might pose. A group of opponents has sued the Corps and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in an attempt to stop the terminal from being developed. PHA, however, has intervened in the lawsuits to protect its interests and ensure that the project can move forward.
The commission approved a recommendation to authorize a compliance agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Border and Transportation Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agricultural Inspection, and a memorandum of agreement with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to permanently implement a program for recycling disposable wooden material generated by PHA operations. CPB-AI will develop a program for a higher degree of inspection and tracking of the material and TDCJ would provide special dumpsters for PHA to collect the material for recycling. TDCJ will use the disposable wooden material to create products at its facilities. PHA expects the recycling program to enhance its ongoing environmental management system and reduce costs associated with landfill disposal fees. The port authority was the first in the U.S. to meet the rigorous requirements of ISO 14001 by developing and implementing an EMS that emphasizes solid waste recycling, air emissions reduction, and storm water quality improvement.
In a separate matter, the commission approved a recommendation to evaluate and rank qualifications and authorize negotiations for a professional services contract for environmental and professional engineering services related to project oversight of remediation activities along Haden Road. Cleanup Oversight Partners, a joint venture of Gahagan & Bryant Associates, Inc. and Shaw Environmental, Inc., received the top ranking followed by Premier Environmental Services, Inc. and CH2M Hill, respectively.
The project is expected to involve monitoring activities stemming from the recent settlement of the five-year dispute related to the GB Biosciences pesticides plant located on Greens Bayou. The participants in the settlement include all of the current and former owners of the facility, GB Biosciences, ISK Magnetics and Occidental Chemical Corporation (as successor to Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Company), along with various parent companies and related corporate entities. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, the owners of the plant and the other defendants have agreed to clean up contaminated soils, sediments and groundwater around the plant, reimburse PHA for certain costs and expenses in investigating and litigating the case, purchase and remediate over 100 acres of impacted property now owned by PHA, and protect PHA against certain future losses associated with the GB Plant. The GB Plant is located along Greens Bayou and adjacent to some property owned by PHA.
PHA will receive a total of $35 million in cash for past and future expenses, consultants' and attorneys' fees, the purchase of impacted property, oversight of the remediation process, and future protection for environmental issues. The settlement also included an indemnity of $20 million against any future claims or expenses.