April 21, 2015
By Dan Wallach
A resolution passed by the Texas House of Representatives today commended Paul Beard, chairman of the Sabine-Neches Navigation District for his “outstanding leadership and longstanding commitment” to improving Southeast Texas as he helped lead the effort to deepen the Sabine-Neches Ship Channel to 48 feet, a project authorized by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2014.
The ship channel supports tens of thousands of direct industrial jobs and many thousands more of indirect and induced jobs.
The deepening of the waterway, which will take several years to accomplish, will help Southeast Texas remain competitive in world commerce and will remain a key national defense waterway.
The ship channel, first dug in 1912, has deepened through the years as larger ships carried more cargoes. The last deepening – to 40 feet – occurred with an authorization in 1962 and took eight years to complete.
The channel deepening will affect all public and private ports along the waterway from the Port of Beaumont to several miles offshore from the Sabine buoys.
The deepening will support development of the liquefied natural gas terminals on the Louisiana and Texas sides of Sabine Pass for export and will help ExxonMobil’s expansion plans in Beaumont as well as the Port of Beaumont’s expansion on its Orange County side.
The waterway supports $32 billion in gross domestic product a year; $18 billion in personal income; 288,000 jobs, locally, in the state and nationally; supports refineries that produce 13 percent of America’s daily fuel consumption; and is the No 1 refiner of jet fuel and the majority of military jet fuel and is the No. 1 port for bulk liquids, the No. 1 port for military outload and the overall No. 3 port in the nation by cargo volume.
The port is also on track to become the nation’s No. 1 LNG port and contributes to 55 percent of the nation’s strategic petroleum reserve.
Beard has served on the navigation district’s board since 1999, when local leaders first began to pursue a deepening project.
State Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, submitted the resolution, HR 2040, to recognize Beard for his efforts.
“There are many honors that come with representing Southeast Texas. But one of my favorite is being able to bring statewide recognition to deserving constituents such as Paul Beard,” Deshotel said. He is a true asset to us all and his work will positively affect all of Texas for years to come.”