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Corpus Christi councilmembers question Port officials over proposed desal plant

Port Chairman Charlie Zahn, told 3News that the Port was not going to build the desal plant, but that it was going to get the Harbor Island site permitted.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi City Councilmembers were questioning two of the three Port commissioners appointed by the City over the Port's efforts to get a permit for a delineation plant.  

The council has been upset with the Port because they say they were never informed that the Port had filed an initial financing application with the state for a $500 million desal facility.

The City is trying to get it's own permit for a $200 million inner harbor desal plant.

Councilmembers have expressed concern that the Port's efforts may harm the City's own efforts to secure that permit and wanted the Port to completely halt its desal permitting effort.

"You shouldn't be questioned this way here in front of us, I'm gonna be very honest with you. You guys should be coming up and telling us what's going on," said City councilmen Billy Lerma. "I should've known about it like I said. There's so much that goes on with the Port, but if it has anything to do at all with the City or anybody affecting, we should know about it."

Port Chairman Charlie Zahn told 3News that the Port was not going to build the desal plant, but that it was going to get the Harbor Island site permitted.

Then, it would look to a third party or the City of Corpus Christi -- to build and run the facility. A decision on the Port's permit is expected to be reached sometime next month.  

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