April 29, 2019 [Nola] – The state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority is negotiating an agreement with the Plaquemines Port and Harbor Terminal District and Plaquemines Liquid Terminal LLC that could declare the project to be “consistent” with the state’s coastal master plan if the project can show it will not interfere with the diversion or adversely affect adjacent wetlands.
The consistency determination is required by a state law aimed at protecting major coastal restoration and hurricane protection projects from the impact of economic development. The facility must obtain environmental and operating permits from a variety of federal and state agencies, including the the state Department of Natural Resources, before it begins construction. The CPRA would file its consistency determination with DNR, and a negative determination would likely veto that permit.
The terminal is a joint project of the port district, Tallgrass Energy LP, and Drexel Hamilton, a Philadelphia-based investment firm. It would receive oil from a 700-mile, 30-inch-wide Seahorse Pipeline that would run from Cushing, Okla., to an unnamed location in St. James Parish, and then south to the terminal. Some oil would be moved to the terminal by rail.
The project would be built just south of the Phillips 66 Alliance Refinery on property the port bought from RAM Terminals LLC, which failed in an attempt to build a coal export terminal there.
The state Department of Natural Resources issued a permit for the RAM facility in 2013, but a Plaquemines Parish judge threw out the permit, saying the state hadn’t considered alternative sites. In April 2016, the state issued a second permit, but it was put on hold when officials asked for information about potential impacts on the diversion. The RAM project’s federal and state permit applications expired in December 2017, and the company later sold the land to the Plaquemines port.
The port is governed by a nine-member board, made up of all Plaquemines Parish Council members.
The terminal would be on the 200 acres of the 600-acre former RAM site closest to the river, and the state diversion would run across the port property from the river to northern Barataria Bay just downriver from the terminal.
In September, CPRA officials said they did not have enough information to make a consistency determination based on data provided by the port and terminal company about the project in filings for permits with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Army Corps of Engineers and state Department of Natural Resources.