Court backs Biden NEPA ruling for Texas oil terminal

By Niina H. Farah | 04/05/2024 06:32 AM EDT

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supported the administration’s argument that the oil facility is in the national interest.

A petroleum tanker ship passes through the Aransas Channel to the Gulf of Mexico after being loaded at the Port of Corpus Christi on May 25, 2020, in Port Aransas, Texas.

A petroleum tanker is seen off the Texas coast in this aerial view from a drone. Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal appeals court Thursday upheld the Biden administration’s finding that a deepwater oil export facility in the Gulf of Mexico is in the national interest, dealing a blow to environmental and community groups challenging the project.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed claims that the federal government failed to meet the standards of environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act or the Deepwater Port Act when it analyzed the potential effects of constructing the Sea Port Oil Terminal, or SPOT, off the Texas coast.

The Maritime Administration Agency (MARAD), which is part of the Department of Transportation, determined in 2022 that the construction and operation of the terminal for exporting excess domestically produced crude oil was in the national interest because it would “benefit employment, economic growth and domestic energy infrastructure resilience.”


The appeals court agreed that the agency had met the laws’ procedural standards when it approved the project.