Oil Cleanup Crews Largely Underwhelmed by Texas Spill

Oil Cleanup Crews Largely Underwhelmed by Texas Spill

PORT ARANSAS, TEXAS–Cleanup efforts continued on the Texas Gulf Coast on March 31 while crews continued the work of removing oil covered debris and tar balls.  Mustang Island State Park Superintendent Damon Reeves told Breitbart News his park area looked much better than days prior when the oil was first reported.

After driving along the beach surveying the affected area, Breitbart Texas found Jay Veselka, the Region 3 Assistant Regional Director in charge of oil spill prevention and response for the Texas General Land Office (GLO).

Veselka said there were roughly eight people from the GLO and U.S. Coast Guard that were in charge of developing the clean-up plan for his area.  They were being reinforced by nearly 80 employees from Miller Environmental in Corpus Christ who were providing the manpower to rake and scrape up the oil covered debris and tar balls.

Most of the crews whose work was observed were using rakes, flat shovels and brooms to clean up the debris and put it into the plastic trash bags for disposal.  No heavy equipment was seen on the beaches as part of this cleanup operation.

Veselka described the tar balls as quarter-sized to about 3 inches in diameter.

“The good news,” Veselka explained, “is we are cleaning up with garbage bags and not dump trucks.”  He added they are removing as little sand from the environment as possible.  Veselka stressed it was important to leave as much of the sand untouched as possible. 

Responding to an inquiry about affected birds, Veselka said, “We confirmed that since we moved the command post from Texas City to Port O’Connor, only six oil-covered birds had been found dead and one bird was taken to rehab to be cleaned up.”

The crews were working diligently throughout the day. Veselka said the cleanup will continue until all of the oil that can be recovered from the beach has been recovered.

The area under Veselka’s supervision stretches from Port Aransas, down Mustang Island and across the outlet onto the north end of Padre Island.

He explained the GLO is coordinating with federal U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel, who are responsible for Matagorda Island and with the private owners of San Jose Island across the bay from Rockport.

Surveillance of the coastal area by U.S. Coast Guard aircraft and from the Texas GLO would continue through the first week of April.

Follow Bob Price on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX