City leaders reserving judgment on Phillips 66 project until they know more

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 20:14:30-04

The Port of Corpus Christi surprised many when it announced support for a Phillips 66 proposal for an offshore oil terminal, after opposing a similar project by Trafigura.

Plans call for Phillips 66’s terminal to be built some 20 miles off Corpus Christi's coastline, near San Jose Island in San Patricio County waters.

Mayor Joe McComb says he was surprised when the Port came out in support of the Phillips 66 project, because six months ago, the City Council passed a resolution opposing Trafigura's project at the port's request.

“I don't want us to think that we were manipulated into a position of opposition, not necessarily for the right reasons,” said McComb.

That resolution after the Port cited air quality and other environmental concerns. Keeping the city within national air quality standards is a major priority for McComb.

“We're very committed in Corpus Christi and Nueces County to meeting these clean air standards; and we've met them, which makes us appealing to all these other industries,” said McComb.

If Corpus Christi doesn't meet those federal standards, the Environmental Protection Agency can fine the city $93,750 until it does. That's why McComb is concerned about the Phillips 66 project, because to him the two projects sound similar.

“I would have a hard time going on record as opposing a project, and then six months later supporting a project if they're the same type of project,” said McComb.

McComb says he wants to meet with both the Port and Phillips 66 before he and the council decide to support or oppose the project.

“We'll get the facts, and we'll make a decision based on the facts,” said McComb, who added other council members share his concerns.

McComb says so far he's only had phone conversations with Phillips 66, but does have a face-to-face meeting with executives planned for later this month.