Press Release: Texas Attorney General's Office
GALVESTON – The Texas Attorney General's Office has dispatched investigators and staff from its Environmental Protection Division to the Galveston Bay oil spill site.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott provided the following regarding the response and resources to the spill:
"Galveston Bay, Galveston Island and the surrounding coast area are Texas treasures. The damage inflicted by this spill is a blow to small businesses, fishing, recreation, and the overall economy – but its ripple effects will be felt much wider. While emergency workers race to get the spill contained and cleaned, the attorney general's office will assist with the coordinated state response and has opened a civil investigation into this disaster.
"The Office of the Attorney General is on the ground to help determine the loss to local businesses as a result of the spill and – at the appropriate time – will do all we can to recoup losses to local businesses.
"Galveston has a long history of showing great resilience in the face of great disaster. As a state, we will do all we can to bolster that strength. As Texans, we know what it means to come to the aid of a neighbor. We all must work together to make sure we are protecting the vital resources and businesses that provide the backbone of our strong economic engine."
GALVESTON, (KHOU) - As an oil spill washed up onto the scenic shores of Galveston's East Beach Sunday, it was both seen and smelled.
"It smells horrible," resident Suzette Mahaffey said. "That crude is very thick in the air."
It was so bad, fishermen were kept from fishing in spots, as others stood in disbelief.
"It breaks your heart," said Mahaffey's husband, Keith. "One of the things we value here is not just the tourism, but you know is the sand, the beach, the nature--the whole ecological balance."
Even those who had lived on the island their entire lives said they had never seen anything quite like it.
Many, like the Mahaffeys, are now worried about the wildlife.
Though it is still not clear exactly how much oil washed up on beaches along the ship channel, some wildlife experts say it could not have come at a worse time for birds.
It is currently the height of migration season, and the shorebird population has doubled to nearly 120,000.
Helen Drummond is the executive director of Houston's Audubon Society and said the impact could be felt for decades, if oil seeps into the sand and ultimately disrupts the food chain.
"It's a refuge for birds flying over the Gulf during spring migration to retreat and to rest," Drummond said. "So we want there to be a healthy and productive place for them to come feed and rest, and having oil on the shoreline is not a healthy and productive place."
It is why an effort is underway to contain it. So far, about 35,000 feet of boom has been deployed.
Though East Beach is included, it reflects just a fraction of the damage, and oil could be seen getting through.
With the wind and waves only making matters worse, experts say the ultimate impact on the environment is still just a guess.
AUSTIN –Texas Parks and Wildlife Department personnel are continuing to look for wildlife affected following the Saturday oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel.
As of Sunday, three birds were taken to a private wildlife rehabilitation service field station for rehabilitation and three birds were found dead. More oiled birds are expected to be found.
Monday, teams of state and federal biologists were checking eastern Galveston Island, Pelican Island and the Bolivar peninsula looking for other affected wildlife.
According to TPWD personnel on the scene, Bolivar Flats is currently a potential hotspot, since it is a significant refuge for birds. Expectations are that oiled birds will fly there and with decreasing temperatures, more impact on birds is expected. High tides could impact further as habitats become inundated.
In addition to the field work underway,TWPD staff are participating in the incident command operation in Texas City and assisting with response activities for reported impacted wildlife.
How the public can help
- Don't pick up or try to assist any oiled wildlife, including birds or marine animals.
- If anyone observes impacted wildlife, please call 888-384-2000.
Media inquiries about the oil spill response should be directed to the Joint Incident Command at (409) 978-2788 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org