Texas fishermen worry revived dredging project for bigger oil tankers will harm their catch

…. More massive oil tankers will be headed through the channel if a dredging project and oil terminal expansion are completed as planned, including dredging through a Superfund site that could stir up mercury and other toxic substances. The Port and Army Corps of Engineers plan to dredge the channel 2.5 miles further into the Gulf of Mexico, 300 feet wider at the entrance, 150 feet wider along the main channel, and around 10 feet deeper to accommodate larger and more heavily laden ships.

Since the U.S. lifted a ban on exporting crude oil in 2015, companies have proposed a wave of new and expanded export terminals across the U.S., including at least 11 built or planned along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast.

Some local residents fear that the dredging in Matagorda Bay will release contaminated sediment from the Bay bottom near a former Alcoa aluminum plant. Despite cleanup efforts, part of the bay remains tainted with mercury, which accumulates in fish, oysters, and shrimp and can cause brain damage.

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Oil and Gas Watch – Brendan Gibbons