The Port Aransas City Council has voted to ban refineries and heavy industry from locating on Harbor Island but the vote simply delays the inevitable: the Eagle Ford Shale play is booming, the Port Aransas Ship Channel is dredged, and the tankers are coming. And they’ll be sailing right past Harbor Island daily, taking billions of dollars in tax revenues that could have bolstered the area’s infrastructure, marketing budget and tourism industry. As this editorial in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times explains, the petroleum industry is woven into the fabric of this community, and that won’t change.
The Port Aransas council’s decision not to allow refineries and other heavy industry on Harbor Island wasn’t just a decision on behalf of Port Aransas. The vote carries consequences for the growth and prosperity of a region that is growing rapidly, mainly because of petroleum-related industry.
Harbor Island’s best strategic purpose is as an industrial property. It is the gateway to the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. Deep-draft ships can access it without having to negotiate the narrowness of the channel for several miles, unlike ships bound for docks at Ingleside or Corpus Christi. A ship’s height is not an issue at Harbor Island because there’s no Harbor Bridge overhead.