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Texas Oil Spill Affects Economy and Environment

The Gulf of Mexico is suffering from yet another oil spill after a ship crashed into a barge Saturday. The captain of the 585 foot ship first reported the spill at 12:30 pm on March 22, and since then nearly 168,000 gallons of oil have rushed into the Galveston Bay.

The spill’s cleanup is likely to take several days, but crews have been working to rectify this situation by skimming oil and containing the spread by laying absorbent booms. Concern lies not so much with the amount of oil spilled, but where it happened and what it will affect. Michael Lambert of the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management stated, “The real issue is that it’s in the ship channel, near environmentally sensitive areas. So there’s an economic impact and an environmental impact.”

The spill has blocked about 60 other vessels from using the Houston Ship Channel, and reports have already been streaming in of pelicans and other birds that have appeared covered in oil. These birds are being treated by rehab centers as quickly as they are spotted. Unfortunately, some birds that have been affected were able to fly away before wildlife staff could treat them.

Coincidentally, this incident occurs precisely at the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster on March 24th, 1989.  Although thankfully, the current spill in Galveston is much smaller.

Governor Rick Perry was quoted saying, “The state of Texas is deploying all necessary resources to respond to this situation, and will continue to do so to ensure the spill is contained and cleaned up with as little impact as possible to the environment and commerce.” All resources are being exhausted in an attempt to rein in the spill. What caused the initial crash has yet to be determined.

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