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After EPA consultation, TCEQ grants Port of CC a permit for desal plant

The move comes despite local activists' objections to the project

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Port of Corpus Christi is one step closer to getting its desalination plant.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Thursday granted the port’s application for a permit to discharge effluent water, or water that isn't wastewater.

“Today’s decision by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is momentous not just for the Coastal Bend region, but for the entire state of Texas,” said Port of Corpus Christi Commission Chairman Charles W. Zahn Jr. “This moves us closer to the establishment of a first-of-its-kind seawater desalination plant that will alleviate the strain on existing surface water resources during periods of significant drought.”

This comes two weeks after a contested hearing in which local environmental groups were allowed to present evidence that the proposed Harbor Island Desal Plant seawater desalination plant would adversely impact Corpus Christi Bay.

Harbor Island sits directly across from Port Aransas along the ship channel.

There are at least seven groups who wanted the TCEQ to deny the permit.

Those include the "Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association," "Coastal Alliance to Protect our Environment," and "For the Greater Good."

The Environmental Protection Agency also weighed-in with concerns, prompting commissioners to delay their ruling.

After weighing-in with the EPA, the Port of Corpus Christi was given the go-ahead to move toward the next steps in building the plant.

“TCEQ had the chance to do the right thing, and they failed miserably " said For the Greater Good co-founder Isabel Araiza. "I hope the Sunset Advisory Commission is paying attention.”

Port leaders have also said that they remain committed to supporting a path for droughtproof water supplies for the Coastal Bend.

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