Around the Gulf




Low-Interest Loans Spur New Natural Gas Power Plants

Texas state leaders are pushing for the construction of new natural gas power plants to increase the state’s power generation capacity. The Texas Energy Fund was approved by voters in November and provides low-interest loans for building new natural gas power plants. The fund has received 125 notices of intent to apply, totaling $38.9 billion in financing for 55,908 megawatts of proposed generation. One megawatt is estimated to provide enough energy to power 250 homes during the hottest summer days.  This would nearly double the state’s installed gas capacity. Private developers and municipalities have joined forces to support the construction of the natural gas plants.

Texas First Ever Flood Plan Draft Released

The Texas Water Development Board has released a draft of the state’s first-ever flood plan, which estimates the cost of flood mitigation projects to reduce the risk of flooding across Texas could cost more than $49 billion. The document provides the most complete picture yet of which areas of the state are most at risk for flooding and estimates that over 5 million people, 1 in 6 Texans, live or work in flood-prone areas. The plan includes recommendations for legislative action, such as establishing a flood early warning system and providing additional funding for flood mitigation and prevention projects. It also recommends that counties be given the authority to collect drainage fees in unincorporated areas to help finance flood mitigation and drainage projects. The plan used existing flood data to create maps that served as a baseline, but many state regions either didn’t have flood maps or used outdated maps.

Tesla Officially Moves Corporation from Delaware to Texas

Tesla has officially changed its incorporation from Delaware to Texas, according to documents filed with the Texas secretary of state’s office. This move aligns the company’s legal home with its physical headquarters, which has been in Austin for years. The paperwork was submitted in June, following a vote by Tesla investors in favor of the move from Delaware. Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, initiated the move in January after a Delaware judge voided his $56 billion compensation package, the largest ever given to a US corporate executive.  

Petrochemical Company Fined $30 Million for Safety Violation

TPC Group, a Texas petrochemical company, has pleaded guilty to a violation of the Clean Air Act and agreed to pay more than $30 million in connection with two explosions at its Port Neches plant in 2019. The explosions injured workers and caused the evacuation of more than 50,000 people. The company also agreed to spend $80 million to improve its risk management program and safety issues at its Port Neches and Houston facilities. The guilty plea and agreement come after an investigation by the Department of Justice.

Barge Crash Causes Oil Spill in Galveston Bay

A barge crashed into a bridge pillar in Galveston, spilling oil into the surrounding waters and closing the only road to Pelican Island, home to Texas A&M University at Galveston.  One person on the barge was knocked into the water and quickly rescued. The accident occurred when a tugboat backing out of a fuel storage operator lost control of two barges it was pushing, and one of the barges hit the bridge and two telephone poles. The accident resulted in oil spilling from the barge into the channel off Galveston Bay, and crews worked to clean it up. The barge had a 30,000-gallon capacity, but it’s not clear how much oil leaked into the bay. The bridge, which was rated as “Poor” in the Federal Highway Administration’s 2023 National Bridge Inventory, was scheduled to be replaced in the summer of 2025 as part of a $194 million project. 


$230 Million Awarded to Louisiana Port

The Port of New Orleans will receive $230.5 million in state funding for infrastructure projects, including a new downriver container terminal, the Louisiana International Terminal (LIT), and the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor. The LIT project will receive $10 million in direct state funding and $140 million in Priority 5 state funding, while $50 million will go toward the St. Bernard Transportation Corridor. The projects are expected to create 32,000 new jobs nationwide, with 18,000 in Louisiana and 4,300 in St. Bernard Parish, and generate $1 billion in new state and local tax revenue. The funding is in addition to $300 million in federal funding awarded to Port NOLA earlier this year for the LIT project, which will be built through a public-private partnership between Port NOLA and two private terminal operators. 

Second Round of Funding for Louisiana Fortified Roof Program

Louisiana’s Fortify Homes Program, which provides grants of up to $10,000 to eligible homeowners and business owners for new roofs built with improved techniques and materials, is expected to accept applications for a second year with a new round of funding this fall. The program, which began last year as a response to the state’s ongoing insurance crisis, has already granted roughly $9 million and completed 900 new roofs, with another 187 roofs installed and awaiting final inspection. To qualify for a grant, homeowners must get a state-approved evaluator to inspect their home and obtain bids from at least three insurance department-approved contractors. The program aims to help lower the risk of storm damage and lower homeowner insurance costs. 

Louisiana Passes Lithium Production Rebate Bill

Louisiana is preparing for the potential discovery of lithium, a key component in batteries for electric vehicles and other electronics, by offering a sales tax rebate for development, production, operation, storage, equipment and materials used in lithium recovery activities. The rebate, which was signed into law by Gov. Jeff Landry, aims to incentivize companies to invest in lithium production in the state.  The Smackover Formation, which extends into north Louisiana, is believed to contain significant amounts of lithium. The sales tax rebate will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2025, and can also be used in the initial development stages of a project. The amount available to fund the rebate is capped at $100,000. 

Shipping Companies Fined $2 Million for Dumping Oil

Two shipping companies – Prive Overseas Marine LLC and Prive Shipping Denizcilik Ticaret – have pleaded guilty to federal charges related to the dumping of oil into the Atlantic Ocean by a ship bound for New Orleans. The companies have agreed to pay $2 million in penalties and have admitted to conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges. The case involves false information entered into the oil record logbook of the tanker PS Dream, and evidence includes information from two whistleblowers and video footage showing oil being pumped overboard. The ship’s master is facing separate charges in a related case. 


$221 Million Flood Control Plan Proposed for Jackson

The US Army Corps of Engineers is considering a revised plan for flood control in Jackson, which includes a smaller lake and additional measures to mitigate flooding. The plan, known as Alternative D, would cost between $485 and $655 million and includes a dam on the Pearl River, widening the channel, and creating a 1,700-acre lake. It also includes elevating or floodproofing up to 60 structures, voluntary buyouts, and improving existing levees. The Corps is tentatively supporting this plan, which it believes would be the most effective way to reduce flooding in the area.  Environmental advocates have expressed concerns that the plan would lead to destruction of wetland areas and critical habitat. The final plan – following a comment period — is expected to be selected in the fall. 

EPA Finds No Evidence of Discrimination by State’s EQ and Health Departments

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has closed its investigation into the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Mississippi Department of Health, finding no evidence of discrimination in the allocation of federal funds for water infrastructure projects. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from the NAACP, which alleged that the state agencies were short-changing Jackson’s water system. The EPA looked at funding amounts and racial demographics of cities that received water funding and found no correlation between the two factors. The agencies are responsible for disbursing funds from the EPA called “state revolving loan” or SRF funds, which are meant to help cities make infrastructure improvements.

MSU Hosts Agriculture and Forestry Conference

Mississippi State University hosted a meeting with leaders from the state’s top industries to launch Vision 2030, a collaborative roadmap for the future of agriculture and forestry in Mississippi. The event included roundtable discussions focused on five areas: commercial crops, specialty crops, livestock, forestry/natural resources, and rural communities. Participants included University President Mark Keenum, producers, MSU faculty and leadership, and representatives from organizations such as the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation, Forestry Association, Cattlemen’s Association, and Poultry Association. The goal of Vision 2030 is to identify value-added opportunities, potential barriers, strengths, and challenges in the agricultural and forestry industries and to develop policy recommendations and strategies for innovation, rural job creation, and economic growth in Mississippi. Additional meetings will be held across the state throughout the year, and recommendations will be presented to state leaders.


$1.1 Billion Awarded to 181 Alabama Water and Sewer Systems

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has committed more than $1.1 billion to water and sewer systems throughout the state, with the majority of the funding going to disadvantaged communities. The funding has come from various sources, including the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) passed by Congress in 2021, and State Revolving Fund (SRF) money. ADEM has awarded funding to 181 systems, including 105 drinking water systems and 76 clean water (sewer) systems, and has prioritized need-based funding to address critical drinking water and sewer needs. More than 750 projects from 535 of the state’s 1,061 drinking water and sewer systems remain at an estimated cost of r $3.4 billion.  

Bollinger Shipyards and United Launch Alliance Team Up to Build Rocket Transport Ship

Bollinger Shipyards has signed a contract with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to design, oversee, and build a 356-foot-long ship that will transport Vulcan rockets from Alabama to their launch sites. The ship, currently under construction at Bollinger’s shipyard in Amelia, is set for completion in January 2026. The vessel will transport rockets from the ULA factory in Decatur, Alabama, to launch sites at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. ULA has stated that it is doubling its launch rate in support of its deal with Blue Origin, to launch 38 rockets to set up a satellite network for Blue Origin that will provide fast, affordable broadband service worldwide. 

New 15,000 Square Foot ADEM Field Office in Mobile Features Environment Friendly Elements The Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) has opened a new field office in Mobile to provide more efficient environmental protection services in the coastal region. The $13 million, 15,000-square-foot building was funded in collaboration with the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council (AGCRC) and the Alabama Legislature. The new office will bring together over 30 ADEM staff who previously worked in two separate locations in the Mobile area, and will enhance cooperation between ADEM and nearby agencies such as the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


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