By Gloria Way
Several residents of Beach City spoke to Chambers County Commissioners Court at its regular meeting last week in protest of plans to dredge a deep-water connection between the Houston Ship Channel and a planned future deepwater terminal facility at Cedar Port Industrial Park in Beach City.
The residents presented “action needed immediately!” information to the Court members. It stated that the Cedar Point Navigation District is planning to build a deep-water port and ship channel 50 ft. deep, 415 ft wide near the Waste Management landfill at the end of FM 2354, Beach City, Texas. Concerns are: more truck traffic/rail traffic/hazardous road conditions/light and noise pollution/damage to ecosystem/flooding and erosion with wave action/damage to piers/blocked evacuation routes/stress on emergency services/loss of property value/possible tax increases.
In an exclusive interview with Commissioner Ryan Dagley who has the Cedar Port Authority in his district noted that he was notified by email of the public hearings just days before the actual meetings were held. Dagley said, “ The notifications come out of Austin and the Cedar Port Navigation Improvement District did the minimum of what is required by law to notify the public regarding the project.” Public meetings were held on Tuesday, October 10th; Wednesday, October 11th, and Tuesday, October 17th.
Dagley emphasized that the Cedar Port Terminal project is a federal project. “This project will never be voted on by a single member of Chambers County Commissioners Court. The only say the County has in its development is that it meets drainage requirements. State Representative Terri Leo-Wilson will never cast a vote regarding this project. The only elected official who will vote on this project is US Representative Brian Babin. Again, this is solely a federal project.”
“The public must understand that the Houston Ship Channel is a huge economic engine for our region,” said Dagley. “33% of Texas Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes through the Houston Ship Channel, and 10% of that 33% comes to precinct 4.”
“One area where local government and state government can work together on this project, is to create more “no truck roads” and “no truck zones”, said Dagley. “This could help relieve some of the truck traffic close to neighborhoods.”
The timeline of the Cedar Port Terminal project is about 10 years. “The studies alone will take about five years,” added Dagley. “Then you have another five years for construction. So, it will be 10 years before it ever opens. Also, numerous studies have been done over the years regarding the area’s mobility plans, etc. The studies have shown that the Bayport Terminal already has reached capacity in the 40% range. The Cedar Port Terminal opening in 10 years should be perfect timing before Bayport reaches capacity.”
Dagley was adamant that he is against the Cedar Port Terminal becoming a reality. “My constituents are dead set against the project, and I can understand why,” he said. “And, I will stand with them against this project.”