Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


On July 8, 1980, the Galveston district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issued the permits required for the construction of an onshore deepwater port. The proposed port expansion project has been the subject of extensive controversy and litigation. The primary conflict has centered on the exclusion of a worst case oil spill analysis, as required by recent Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations. A rational-deductive approach to this decision leads to the conclusion that the economically and environmentally favored choice would have been to include the worst case analysis in the initial Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Because of changes in oil import conditions and prices, the project has probably been delayed to such an extent that it is no longer economically viable. This discrepancy leads to important generalizations about agency decision making. the utility and necessity of the worst case regulation are also explored.