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Biden implored to avert ‘Carbon Bomb’ by blocking Texas Gulf Oil Terminals

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Picture: Texas Campaign for the Environment/Twitter – Activists demonstrate against the proposed Sea Port Oil Terminal in Texas outside the US Department of Transportation headquarters on November 16, 2022 in Washington, DC.

By Brett Wilkins

The Biden administration’s plan to potentially allow four new oil terminals along the Texas Gulf Coast would unleash a “carbon bomb” potentially equivalent to three years of all US emissions and belie President Joe Biden’s stated intent to “act boldly on climate”, according to an analysis published on Tuesday.

The analysis — which was conducted for The Guardian by Global Energy Monitor, a San Francisco-based NGO that tracks fossil fuel projects around the world — found that if all four terminals are built and operate at full capacity for their expected 30-year lifespan, they will generate a staggering 24 billion metric tons of greenhouse gases.

According to The Guardian:

The federal government has already quietly approved the Sea Port Oil Terminal project, a proposed offshore oil platform located 35 miles off the Texas coast, south of Houston, and will decide whether to allow three other nearby oil terminal proposals. Combined, the four terminals would expand US oil exports by nearly seven million barrels every day, handling the capacity of half of all current national oil exports.

“The amount of oil going through these projects, and the resulting emissions, are pretty astounding,” said Global Energy Monitor analyst Baird Langenbrunner.

Sea Port Oil Terminal (STOP), the largest of the projects, would produce an estimated seven billion metric tons of annual greenhouse emissions, followed by Bluewater Texas (6.7 billion metric tons), Blue Marlin (6.6 billion), and Texas GulfLink (3.8 billion). In 2019, US emissions totalled 6.6 billion metric tons, according to the analysis.

“Even if the emissions are a bit lower … we are fast-forwarding ourselves to the date where we have to stop completely emitting,” said Langenbrunner. “Any extra emissions are in direct conflict with climate goals and it’s hypocritical for the Biden administration to allow these things to get built and then say the US wants to decrease its own emissions.”

SPOT was approved by the Biden administration last November over the strong objections of climate, environmental, and other campaigners. As currently planned, the project would consist of several pipelines — the longest of them 50 miles long — storage tanks, and a deep-water oil export platform.

Last month, green and community groups sued the US Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration (MARAD) over its approval of SPOT.

“Licensing SPOT exclusively serves the fossil fuel industry’s goal of extracting every last drop of oil from the Permian Basin, while failing the communities and ecosystems of the Gulf, our nation, and global climate,” Devorah Ancel, a senior attorney at the Sierra Club — one of the groups filing the suit — said at the time.

“Considering the administration’s stated commitment to ‘tackle the climate crisis’, it is particularly troubling that MARAD’s review of SPOT’s environmental and community impacts entirely fails to account for the project’s significant contributions to climate change,” Ancel said, “including impacts from excessive greenhouse gas pollution that will push temperatures higher in the Houston area and disrupt global climate.”

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article was first published on Common Dreams