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EPIC Plans Expected at Corpus Christi Town Hall Meeting

EPIC Crude Holdings recently began construction of 19 oil and gas storage tanks on 500 acres across the road from a Calallen residential neighborhood. Not many officials, including Carolyn Vaughn, the area’s Nueces County commissioner, knew the tanks were coming. Vaughn set up two town hall meetings to bring residents and company representatives to the table. The next meeting is 5:30 p.m. September 19 at Hill Top Community Center, 11425 Leopard St. in Corpus Christi. Courtesy photo

Plans for how to mitigate the negative effects of construction on Calallen residents living across the road from where 19 oil and gas storage tanks are being built will be discussed at a town hall meeting September 19. Set up by Nueces County Precinct 1 Commissioner Carolyn Vaughn, the meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at Hill Top Community Center, 11425 Leopard St. in Corpus Christi.

“EPIC is working with us on this,” Vaughn told Corpus Christi Business News, referring to EPIC Crude Holdings, the company building the storage tanks just north of U.S. 77. “They know they messed up on this one.”

At an earlier town meeting on the subject, Vaughn brought together members of the community who voiced their concerns to company representatives, Vaughn, and Nueces County Commissioner Barbara Canales. The Nueces County commissioners knew nothing about the plans for building storage tanks at that location, Vaughn said at the meeting.

EPIC recently completed a pipeline for LNG gas from the Permian Basin in West Texas to Corpus Christi. It began shipping crude oil in the smaller pipeline while completing another, bigger one along the same route. Oil and gas will be delivered to the storage tanks, where it will wait for the next destination, which is usually a refinery, fractionator, or export vessel.

Corpus Christi City Council did know a project was coming — possibly, not what kind. On March 26, the council created a new industrial district for the location, entering into a Chapter 212 agreement agreement with EPIC, which extends city ordinances to property in extraterritorial jurisdictions. Records show no mention of storage tanks on the nearly 500-acre site, which is near a fractionator plant EPIC is building in Robstown.

“This kind of snuck in,” Vaughn said of the storage tanks.

Some mitigation plans are already underway for homeowners plagued by dust, refuse, and truck traffic. Crews are picking up trash and water trucks regularly hose down the road to keep dust at bay. EPIC has also hired off-duty sheriff’s deputies to direct traffic from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Vaughn hopes to hear much more in the way of mitigation plans, including possible buyouts for residents who fear a drop in property value and permanent damage to their quality of life.

“I have asked (EPIC) to come up with a plan,” Vaughn said. “I want them to come up with solutions for the neighbors that will satisfy them. What that’s going to consist of, I don’t know.”

Buyouts should be an option on the table, she added.

“My other hope is that the neighbors will give EPIC the opportunity to come up with solutions,” she said. “Their heart is in the right place, and I hope the neighbors will listen and give them the opportunity to make things better.”

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