Oil spill

Heavy fuel oil leaking from a disabled barge fills an oyster shell on the beach along Boddeker Road in Galveston on Sunday. The barge collided with a ship Saturday near the Texas City Dike. Officials estimate more than 160,000 gallons have leaked into the bay.


Nature lovers and seafood lovers alike should be outraged at the oil spill in Galveston Bay.

What’s so sad about this oil spill is that even if a great deal of money is thrown at this problem, this will have long-term effects on our ecosystem.

While I’m in favor of businesses that create jobs, I can see, and I hope others can, too, that we are connected with our environment.

If we dirty it, we compromise our health.

This spill, more than any other argument, is a case for using clean technology.

We can’t continue to treat the earth so carelessly.

The long-range effect of this oil spill is that the wildlife which depends on the bay have been and will continue to be compromised.

Think of the beauty of our bay and the wildlife it supports — the beautiful ibis that have fished for crustaceans and other food sources in the bay, the pelicans that fly over the bay daily hunting for fresh catch.

Consider the other species that have been threatened before this oil spill occurred.

Theirs was already a fragile and tenuous existence and could likely be wiped out because of this oil spill.

What about the turtles, the salamanders, the frogs and the oysters that play an enormous role in helping to keep the bay water healthy?

We must demand that those responsible respond to the crisis this spill has created in our environment.

Galveston Bay should receive the tender loving care that it deserves after so devastating a spill. The damage is unthinkable and heartbreaking.

Of course, when a spill such as this occurs, we can’t help but recall the devastating 2010 BP Gulf oil disaster.

We wonder what lessons can be learned from both incidents.

While the circumstances might be different, the effect on the environment is the same.

Wildlife is being compromised. We can’t separate ourselves from our environment.

When wildlife is affected, we are affected as well.

The wildlife in the bay feeds us and helps keep us healthy in ways that we haven’t begun to consider.

It will take some time and money for the process to begin. Even after all of that, we can’t say how long the after effects of this spill will continue.

Meanwhile, each of us should write to our representatives to say how we feel about this spill.

In addition, we should be ever vigilant that those responsible not only respond to the immediate crisis — but also the long-term crisis — this has caused.

Each of us should ask ourselves what we can do to reduce our dependence on the demand for fossil fuel-based energy so that we can be better stewards of our environment.

This is a difficult idea for us to consider since so much of our economy depends on the use of such energy.

However, we must transition to a cleaner method of providing our energy needs.

In the meantime, those who use that energy will pay the price of these kinds of mistakes.

Dale Taylor lives in Galveston.

(8) comments

Joel Martin

Mr. Taylor, don't you think comparing this spill to the BP blowout is a little bit of overkill? No spill is okay but there is no need for a Chicken Little diatribe over this. In case you hadn't kept up most of the spill was blown out in Gulf and poses little danger to Galveston Bay. I'm sure the salamanders will just fine.

George Croix

"Each of us should ask ourselves what we can do to reduce our dependence on the demand for fossil fuel-based energy so that we can be better stewards of our environment.
This is a difficult idea for us to consider since so much of our economy depends on the use of such energy.
However, we must transition to a cleaner method of providing our energy needs."

No doubt the author will cheerfully give up his automobile, forgo clothing, stop eating any purchased foods, and live in a cave for the next 50 plus years as we 'transition' to 'cleaner energy', rather than be hypocritical, as NOTHING we use or do in our daily lives goes untouched in some manner, at some point, by the need for fossil fuels to produce or deliver it.
This was an accident, not a plot by Big Oil to make a mess and give the 4th estate a good reason to engage in hyperbole
Daily car wrecks destroy human lives and bodies. Lack of food causes hunger and famine. Lack of fresh water means the end of life.
The loss of a few salamanders and turtles pales by comparison...

ole dad

This accident is absolutely ridiculous. Totally avoidable in today's technology. Someone's asleep at the wheel and it may be with the port authority.

Steve Fouga

People who long for alternatives to fossil-fuel-based energy should do at least two things: campaign for, or help find, the alternatives; and get used to the fact that the world will be reliant on fossil fuels for decades or centuries to come.

I'm all for finding the alternatives, but the spigot won't be turned off overnight. So how about focusing on cleaner, greener, more efficient use of the resources we know we already have in the meantime.

My first reaction was similar to oledad's. You'd think these accidents would be avoidable. But the more I reflect, the more I'm amazed they happen as seldom as they do. Lots of petrochemicals being moved around; not many spills.

George Croix

Your reflection is a good one.
NOBODY is actually willing to give up fossil fuels, no matter how many times they are told what to think, once they actually clue in to what that would entail, in the absence of economically viable alternatives. That would be for at least 50 years, even if we had leaders, and a populace, who had a clue, rather than just an agenda.
It's not economically viable to toss billions of taxpayer dollars at 'green' projects that are better handled by private industry research and development. The markets and availability will dictate the emergence of large scale 'green' energy sources, not some DC desk jockey or speach maker.
Lets develope all possible sources, but let's don't pretend we don't need more crude pipelines while we do that research. Or that people wearing Spandex and polyester and flip flops while bemoaning plastic shopping bags are 'green'.

Jim Forsythe

Oledad You may want to hold off on
saying that the accident was avoidable until all facts are in.
The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989. If you look at the root causes you will not find it was just one thing that was the reason the accident happen.
When they do the Investigation into the oil spill in the ship channel, they will more than likely find more than one reason it happen. Things like was it doubled hulled, how did fog play into it and a lot of other factors.
We will probably not reduce the amount of traffic in ship channel, so we must look at better ways to get product form point A to point B.
Until the facts come in we will just be guessing why it happen. When accidents happen on the water, results are usually not good!

Miceal O'Laochdha

Oledad, you are talking thru your hat. It is blatantly obvious you have no clue what the real risks are in transiting ships, boats, barges, ferries, sailboats, power boats, shrimpers, dredges and more in the very close waters of the Houston, Galveston and Texas City channels and Bolivar Roads.

A regular columnist for this paper once gave a glowing description of how he and his friends surf in the wakes of the big tankers' screws as they transit these close waters, so add those morons in to the mix as well.

It is this kind of grandstanding by people unburdened by knowledge that gave us the irreparable curse of double hulls (OPA'90). Well how did you like the performance of the double hull on this Jones Act barge?

As to the lost-in-space author of this column, gecroix has already pointed out that as this oil product was ships' bunkers, every last product you did not make yourself from a tree growing in your own yard would have to be surrendered if you want to eliminate a spill like this from occurring periodically.

George Croix

Actually, unless that tree grew there wild, the seed or seedling that it grew from came courtesy of petroleum products at some point. The chain saw/axe/knife used to turn it into something else also came courtesy of fossil fuels. I suppose one could make a stone axe, but then he'd need to bind the rock to the stick with sinew from a deer that he'd have to kill by walking to deer country then running it down naked on foot, then...

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