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Texas Coast Attacked by Oil Spill

Posted by feww on May 10, 2010

Image of the Day:

The Big Oil State Under Attack

The spill is moving west toward the coast of Texas, according to various reports.

Geologist from Hell?

BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward has admitted that the ruptured oil well could continue gushing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for weeks, even months, before it could be brought under control.

The Deepwater Horizon wellhead is now gushing oil at an estimated minimum rate of 5,000 bpd. Some experts believe, however, that the leak is bleeding at 25,000bpd [nearly 4,000,000 liters per day] or 5 times the official estimate.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Gulf of Mexico is seen an aerial view of area off the coast of Mobile, Alabama. Handout photo was taken from a U.S. Coast Guard aircraft on May 6, 2010 and released to media on May 9, 2010. Credit: U.S. Coast Guard.

The trajectory shows the actual and forecast oil spill movement for the 3-day period 9-12 May. Click image to enlarge.

Fragile ecosystems on the coast wetlands of Texas could be devastated by the BP oil spill

Texas bays and Gulf waters are home to thousands of fish, shellfish, birds and other animals, all of which depend on the coast’s diverse habitats for food and shelter. Humans, too, share the coast, building homes and ports, harvesting seafood and enjoying the many kinds of recreation the coast has to offer. Credit: University of Texas.

Who Needs Wetlands, Swamps …

What’s the big deal about coastal ecosystems? Do they actually do anything for us?

Here’s a partial list valuable goods and services produced by coastal Texas wetlands; environmental quality functions and socioeconomic values (after Tiner 1984 and Hefner et al., 1994). [Source: National Wetlands Inventory Report.]

Environmental Quality Functions

Water Quality Maintenance

  • Sediment Trapping & Stabilization
  • Chemical & Toxicant Trapping
  • Nutrient Absorption & Cycling

Hydrologic Functions

  • Groundwater Recharge/Discharge
  • Saltwater Intrusion Prevention
  • Flow Stabilization

Primary Production/Energy Transfer
Ecosystem Stabilization
Biological Diversity
Biogeochemical Cycling
Fish & Wildlife Habitat

  • Invertebrates
  • Fish & Shellfish
  • Reptiles & Amphibians
  • Waterfowl, Wading Birds, Shorebirds & Other Birds
  • Furbearers & Other Mammals
  • Endangered & Threatened Species

Socioeconomic Values

  • Finfish & Shellfish
  • Forage & Hay
  • Timber
  • Food Products
  • Fur and Other Wildlife Products
  • Aquaculture/Mariculture

Recreation & Nature Tourism

  • Fishing & Crabbing
  • Hunting & Trapping
  • Nonconsumptive Fish & Wildlife Uses
  • Boating & Swimming
  • Camping & Picnicking
  • Hiking, Trail Walking/Jogging
  • Visual Aesthetics & Photography

Water Supply
Wastewater Treatment
Flood Control
Erosion Control
Storm Buffering
Education & Scientific Research

Shrimp Harvest

Shrimp Harvest could soon be a painful memory. Credit:ESTUARINE SYSTEM

Is that all wetlands do? Well, not quite, but it’ll do for now!

Did You Know?

Since 1990, BP subsidiaries in the US have been convicted 3 times, including two felonies, for committing environmental crimes in the states of Alaska and Texas.

BP’s worst disaster, prior to the ongoing catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico,  occurred  in 2005, when an explosion ripped through its Texas City refinery near Galveston, killing 15 employees, and injuring at least 180 others. The toxic plumes released during the blast forced thousands of nearby residents to stay indoors for a period of time to avoid serious harm.

In a subsequent investigation, BP was found responsible for the blast and it pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act. BP was fined $50 million and sentenced to 3 years probation. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) fined BP $87 million after its inspectors found 270 standing safety violations that BP should have fixed but hadn’t, as well as 439 new violations.

Official Site of Deepwater Response Unified Command

The Official Site of Deepwater Response Unified Command is posting photos and charts on its Flickr site. The majority of the photos are taken by employees of government organization, US Coast Guard and Navy personnel. Yet, for some inexplicable reason each and everyone of these photos, charts, and graphs carries a copyright notice. Could someone from the command explain why?

New Documents

Related Links:

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One Response to “Texas Coast Attacked by Oil Spill”

  1. […] Texas Coast Attacked by Oil Spill […]

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