MAO TSETUNG : POEMS A collection of thirtynine of Chairman Mao Tsetung’s poems written between 1925 and 1965. Published by Foreign Language. Press, Peking, China. Hardback….$1.75 Paperback…$1.00 \(Include 5% Prairie Fire Bookstore 3221 MAIN STREET, HOUSTON, TEXAS 77002 Phone 529-1641 Please write for a free catalogue of other books, magazines, cards, etc. Superport . opportunity to coach Coleman’s decision as Briscoe. Askew is worried that massive supertankers, laden with Mideastern oil and plying through the Bermuda Straits off Florida, spells environmental trouble for the Florida coast. So Florida is seeking an injunction in federal court to block Coleman’s decision on a Texas superport, thus lengthening an already-long tale long enough for Florida officials to satisfy themselves about possible environmental damage. Theirs is no idle speculation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdminisCommerce conducted a risk analysis months ago, concluding that Florida faced more environmental risk from superports than either Texas or Louisiana, the probable sites of superports. Coleman ruled last year that Florida held no “adjacent state status” in this decision-making process. Hence, the Florida suit. The matter of the injunction may have been settled as the Observer goes to press, but the matter of the superport may finally wind up in the lap of the Carter administration. With oil money at stake, the half-decade superport-seadock affair has been competitive, to say the least. The Freeport Seadock project–Lplanned by a combine of nine oil and chemical corporationswould consist of four huge buoys connected with submarine pipes, spiderlike, to a pumping platform. The platform is designed to pump Mideastern crude oil from huge supertankers through two 52-inch pipelines to a tank farm 31 miles away in Brazoria County. The whole Seadock project will be located in over 100-foot depth Gulf waters. The Galveston onshore project, proposed as a joint effort by a number of public authorities, spearheaded by the public wharves authority in the Island City, would require a massive 67-foot dredging job from the mouth of Galveston Bay 35 miles out into the relatively shallow Gulf waters. That is a lot of dredging, and a lot of dregs to dispose of. Supertankers are big. “Super” just doesn’t say it adequately. It’s sort of like “giant” and “king-size” soap boxes; the terms have lost their meaning. Some supertankers are bigger than others, but the biggest are comparable to floating the Empire State Building. Big. And they are filled with oil, which promises an unimaginable mess and ecological disaster when one ruptures. That’s to indicate what we’re messing with. The supertankers that could enter the Galveston channel would be much larger than those capable of traversing the present 40-foot channel. But they wouldn’t be as big as the supertankers capable of using the 100-foot depth offshore Seadock at Freeport. The Galveston proposal would call for the tankers to use a terminal on the tip of Pelican Island, connected by pipeline to Texas City’s petrochemical complex. In addition, super-sized cargo ships \(again much bigger would carry dry goods such as sulfur, grain, and ore to docks planned for a section of Pelican Island facing Galveston Island. Many environmentalists have accepted Seadock as inevitable and the “lesser of two evils.” Some remain skeptical of the oil companies’ plan. Despite the advantages of public ownership in the Galveston proposal, the planned dredging and the possibility of huge supertankers moving around in Galveston Bay could turn the city’s project into an environmental nightmare. But there’s money to be made and jobs to be created, so Freeport and Galveston are at each other. The federal government could conceivably deem both plans to be in the “national interest,” but both Seadock and the Galveston wharves do not think that is very likely. Both facilities are aiming for the same amount of oil business. The possibility that Coleman will shut out both projects is probably even more unlikely. As a Coast Guard official points out, “the very existence of the federal legislation dealing with the matter shows that Congress thinks a superport is needed.” And why do they think it is needed? Because the oil industry predicts Texas will be importing 5.5 million barrels of crude per day in 1985. And the same industry claims it’s much cheaper to haul it over here in huge tanker ships, over 1,100 feet long. Barbara Heller, with the Environmental Policy Center in Washington, D.C., believes the claims of dollar savings from 18 The Texas Observer
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