Construction Can Begin on ExxonMobil Plastics Plant
Permits were approved for ExxonMobil to begin construction on its $10 billion plastics plant in Gregory near Corpus Christi. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality granted the permits Wednesday, June 12, during a meeting in Austin.
Opponents of the plant addressed the commission asking it to release to the public information kept confidential during the permit application process. Opposition groups, including the Sierra Club and Texas Campaign for the Environment, also asked the commission to deny a request to allow construction to begin immediately. Gulf Coast Growth Ventures, the group in charge of project construction, filed a motion to begin work as soon as permits were issued.
Although TCEQ granted that request, opposition groups are still able to file a motion for a rehearing. ExxonMobil can begin construction, but at its own risk, commission chairman Jon Niermann said.
"Speaking just to the process, and not to the merits at this point, we very well may grant a request for rehearing," he said. "I would also note that the applicant, if they elect to commence construction during this time period, would do that at their own peril."
The Sierra Club and Texas Campaign for the Environment will be seeking a rehearing, according to Ilan Levin, a lawyer representing the two groups.
Gulf Coast Growth Ventures announced it plans to begin construction as soon as possible, however.
“We’re willing to accept the risk,” said Paul Guilfoyle, venture executive for GCGV.
Site preparation began months ago on the 1,300 acres in San Patricio County. An Operations Training Center opened in December 2018 where about 250 workers are already undergoing training.
Gulf Coast Growth Ventures said the plant itself should be complete sometime in 2022. Expected to be the largest plastics plant in the world, it is a joint venture of ExxonMobil and Saudi Basic Industries Corp. The site is located on the south side of Texas 181 and west of FM 2986 west of Gregory. Downtown Corpus Christi is about 12 miles southwest of Gregory.
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