Thanks, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, for boosting Corpus Christi Ship Channel project

Widening and deepening our ship channel is a matter of international strategic geopolitical and economic importance. U.S. energy production and export, if enabled fully by projects such as this, can do one of two important things: Stop the world's energy superpowers from using their supplies to coerce the have-nots, or, failing that, make sure we're the ones doing the coercing.

Using energy to help less-developed countries develop is more than a diplomatic and economic mission. It's also humanitarian. Hospitals run on energy and life-saving pharmaceuticals are made from oil. This is why we've bordered on religious in pushing this project.

All it takes is money, an estimated $327 million. The port's share is supposed to be $102 million but port leaders have decided it's important enough to self-fund if the federal government doesn't come through. We agree. But considering the importance of the project not just to Corpus Christi, the prospect of the federal government shirking its responsibility to it is unacceptable.

To that end, Abbott sent a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers asking for advance funding and pointing out a lot of what we just did. In this, he joins several Texas members of Congress and Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton, who toured the port last year on his own initiative to bring attention to the cause.

The value of Abbott's intervention could be argued. It's often pointed out that Texas limited the powers of its governor so that, on paper at least, the lieutenant governor is actually more powerful.

Funny how it doesn't really work out that way. We can name governors of more than one state, including this one, who have made the jump from governor to president, but not one president made the jump directly from lieutenant governor. Previous Gov. Rick Perry shaped the state government in his own image via appointment power, articulation of legislative priorities, and just generally using the ol' bully pulpit, as some previous governors have done and as Abbott has been doing.

Like him or not — sometimes we do and sometimes not — when Abbott speaks, he is not to be ignored. Powerful people in Washington, including the president, are likely to hear him over whatever other din is filling their ears. It should help that this administration is pro-petroleum, although any administration should favor this project.

We like the look of the momentum growing behind this project. And we don't think it's naively optimistic to hope that Abbott's push will be the tipping point.

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