Gov. Rick Perry said today Texas is prepared to respond to any effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill along the Texas coast. While oil from the spill is not predicted to reach Texas shores in the immediate future, the State Operations Center has remained at an increased readiness level and the state continues to work with federal and local authorities to track the spill and prepare contingency plans.
"While the Texas coast has been spared the worst of this disaster, it's vital that we have plans and resources in place to respond should oil from this spill begin to come ashore," Gov. Perry said. "We will continue to coordinate our activities across numerous agencies to ensure a rapid and effective relief effort, if needed."
The Office of the Governor participates in daily conference calls with the White House, Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and gulf state governors.
Any oil reaching Texas shores is expected to be in the form of weathered tar balls, which cannot be prevented by boom deployment and would necessitate aggressive physical removal. Texas' General Land Office (GLO) has five coastal offices equipped with boats, 4x4 trucks, trailers, ATVs, and skimmers available for response activities. Silt curtains could be deployed to protect washouts.
"The Texas GLO's Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program is well equipped and well trained," Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said. "We know this could have happened off the Texas coast, so we're ready on any given day for a spill."
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has activated 12 Mobile Response Spill Assessment Teams, capable of conducting air monitoring and collecting sediment and water samples. TCEQ also has staff available to advise on waste disposal and provide training in shoreline clean-up techniques.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is coordinating with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA, TCEQ and GLO to provide any assistance necessary. TPWD has also formed an internal oil spill response team and is conducting weekly conference calls with the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), Texas Sea Grant College Program and commercial fisheries. No fisheries have been closed along the Texas coast due to this oil spill. TDA is working with grocery stores to promote consumer awareness that both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Texas Department of State Health Services have affirmed the health and safety of Texas seafood and shrimp.
Officials with the U.S. Coast Guard Houston-Galveston, Port Arthur, Corpus Christi and the GLO will continue regular communication to coordinate activities on the federal, state and local level.
Texas beaches remain open for summer recreation and business. For more information, please visit www.traveltex.com.