Galveston Bay Oil Spill 3/22/2014 Caution Urged in Use of Chemical Dispersants to Clean Up Galveston Oil Spill
Impact of Spill on Local Environment and Fisheries Feared
Galveston, Texas--Although the Houston and Galveston economies benefit from thriving ports and industrial complexes these endeavors often come at an expense to others. The recovery effort to remove heavy oil spilled into the bay from the recent barge accident in the Houston Ship Channel closed the channel for other shipping commerce, cruise ships returning home, and at least eight refineries along the channel.
Area residents are concerned about the impact on the commercial and recreational fishing as well as the health of the oyster and shrimp. It is also estimated that 50,000 shore and seabirds roost only two miles away from the spill at the Bolivar Flats refuge.
Baykeeper Charlotte Cherry states, “Our organization, ‘Galveston Baykeeper’ is concerned with the methods used to recover the oil such as the use as chemical dispersants which will break up the oil and make it appear that there’s no oil, but actually make it virtually impossible to clean up. Our understanding is Corexit is not used within inland waters, such as our bay and have not been utilized on this spill. Will dispersants be used now since the slick has moved off shore in the Gulf? The impacted resources wherever the oil comes ashore is our concern." Galveston Baykeeper (GBK) is a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, a global environmental movement which began in 1966 with the Hudson River Fisherman’s Association and grew to encompass waterways around the world. GBK recently worked a number of cases that involve illegal discharges into Galveston Bay. Proceeds from those cases provided support to the Armand Bayou Nature Center, the Galveston Bay Foundation, and most recently the Texas Native Prairie Association.
Speaking with Mary Smith, one of the Hillman sisters who operate the seafood market established by their grandparents over 50 years ago, she said, "This is devastating to the fishing industry. The Health Department shut down oystering two weeks ago and now this. Our business is a dead zone. We're selling crawfish and that's about it. Even though the seafood is not harmful for consumption, the public's perception is they won't eat seafood from our waters for a couple of years. We lived through the hardships our parents experienced and to go through all this now is heartbreaking. In the midst of this, I am still optimistic. Our faith gives us strength opportunity will open for us to survive."
Galveston Baykeeper encourages our membership to unite with Galveston Bay Foundation volunteers in the cleanup effort. Individual volunteers have not yet been activated by incident command, but persons who are interested in serving as volunteers should they be needed may sign up now by visiting www.galvbay.org.
About Galveston Baykeeper
The mission of the Galveston Baykeeper is to preserve and to protect the health of Galveston Bay and its watershed for our children, our economy and our future through advocacy and education and enforcement of the Clean Water Act. The Galveston Baykeeper is a non-profit organization under Section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. For further information contact 281-639-3505. Follow on Twitter: Galveston Baykeeper@Gbaykeeper or like us on Facebook: Galveston Baykeeper