Portland Citizens United (PCU) is a grass roots community group. In the summer of 2016 residents began hearing rumors that a big plant was coming to the area. In September 2016 Portland residents saw a public notice in The Portland News announcing that Exxon had applied for tax abatements from Gregory-Portland Independent School District. It was the first time most residents had heard anything about a new Exxon plant. A group of residents began discussing the plant and trying to find out more information. All they could find was an online article in The Coastal Bend Chronicle and the 313 application for tax abatements. The application was on the Texas Comptroller’s website and provided details about water usage and the location of the proposed plant. Residents were outraged to learn that the proposed site was on the west side of 181 in an area traditionally used for farming. The proposed site was not located in the industrial corridor along the La Quinta Channel. In fact, the proposed site would be located across the street from homes and within 1.5 miles of local schools.
In October, a Portland resident voiced concerns about the location and water usage at a Portland City Council meeting. Council members revealed they had all signed non-disclosure agreements and could not discuss the proposed plant. They also said they did not know much about the proposed project. This upset locals who felt like city council members should be able to speak about projects that would impact the community. Locals decided that if our elected officials could not discuss the project, then we would get the word out.
The Facebook page was created November 3, 2016. We continue to focus on the project Exxon and Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corporation have proposed. PCU feels it is important for local residents to have as much information as possible about a plant that has the potential to drastically change our small community. We will continue to advocate for the rights of local citizens and do our best to stand up to a multi-billion dollar corporation. Day by day, post by post, rally by rally, we are standing up to Goliath. We hope that you will join us.