The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Nearly 170,000 Gallons of Oil Spills Into Busy Houston Ship Channel
The rush is on to clear up nearly 170,000 gallons of oil that spilled into the busy Houston Ship Channel in Texas City, TX over the weekend after a collision between a barge and ship.
The spill occurred after a barge carrying more than 900,000 gallons of oil collided with a 585-foot ship on the channel, which is one of the world's busiest waterways, according to The Associated Press. Today marks the third day that the channel has been closed. It connects the Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico and handles as many as 80 vessels per day.
According to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's office, the barge has been moved to a ship yard away from the scene of the spill.
"This is an extremely serious spill," said Capt. Brian Penoyer of the U.S. Coast Guard told the Houston Chronicle. "It is a persistent oil."
The Coast Guard said 24 vessels will continue working to clean 4,000 barrels worth of oil today, about 45 miles from Houston. Winds have spread out the oil, further complicating containment efforts. About 90,000 feet of boom had been set up along the Texas City dike over the weekend. The U.S. Coast Guard says no ships will be allowed to leave port until the oil spill is fully under control.
No timetable has been set for the channel's reopening, but it is clearly impacting businesses of all sorts, including fishing tackle shops, ferries and tourism.
The spill could impact the bird population as thousands of shorebirds are still in the area. The Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary is just east of the spill site. It is known to attract 50,000 to 70,000 shorebirds to its muddy, flat terrain.
"The timing really couldn't be much worse since we're approaching the peak shorebird migration season," said Richard Gibbons, conservation director of the Houston Audubon Society.
The Coast Guard said it found and transferred fewer than 10 oiled birds to a wildlife rehabilitation center by Sunday afternoon.
Houston's CBS affiliate said other agencies aiding the Coast Guard include: the Texas General Land Office, Galveston County Office of Emergency Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Texas City Office of Emergency Management and the Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health.
More than 30 vessels, including two cruise ships, were waiting to enter the channel from the Gulf of Mexico as of Sunday night. A cruise ship and 35 vessels were waiting to leave Galveston Bay, according to Lt. Sam Danus told the Houston Chronicle.
Geoff Roberts was fishing Saturday with his wife and friend around the time of the collision. He said he found oil on his own 21-foot-boat and his fishing gear.
"You could see a big oil slick as far as the eye could see," he said.
Just last week, about 10,000 gallons of oil spilled from a Sunoco pipeline into a nature preserve area near Cincinnati, OH.
Visit EcoWatch’s TAR SANDS page for more related news on this topic.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
A middle-aged married couple in China was diagnosed with pneumonic plague, a highly infectious disease similar to bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe in the middle ages, as CNN reported.
Dairy aisles have exploded with milk and milk alternative options over the past few years, and choosing the healthiest milk isn't just about the fat content.
Whether you're looking beyond cow's milk for health reasons or dietary preferences or simply want to experiment with different options, you may wonder which type of milk is healthiest for you.
At least 1,688 dams across the U.S. are in such a hazardous condition that, if they fail, could force life-threatening floods on nearby homes, businesses, infrastructure or entire communities, according to an in-depth analysis of public records conducted by the the Associated Press.
By Sabrina Kessler
Far-reaching allegations about how a climate-sinning American multinational could shamelessly lie to the public about its wrongdoing mobilized a small group of New York students on a cold November morning. They stood in front of New York's Supreme Court last week to follow the unprecedented lawsuit against ExxonMobil.
By Alex Robinson
Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.
The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.
Temperatures plunged rapidly across the U.S. this week and around 70 percent of the population is expected to experience temperatures around freezing Wednesday.