Deepwater Horizon spill on Texas beachs are false
No birds * or other wildlife * on Texas coast affected by gulf oil spill Media hysteria, poor reporting turn federal clerical error into lead story
AUSTIN - Reports of birds washing up on Texas shores covered in sludge from the Deepwater Horizon spill are false, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said today.
*No birds * or any other wildlife * on the Texas coast has been affected by the Deepwater Horizon spill,* Patterson said. The slick, he said, is still more than 100 miles east of the Sabine River.
Stories of the non-existent oiled birds were carried on morning broadcasts nationwide Monday, after an Associated Press story reported their deaths. The source of the mistake has been tracked back to a clerical error in a Sunday report from the cleanup*s Louisiana headquarters.
*Everyone is looking for an impact, everyone is looking for these birds, but they are just not there,* Patterson said. *This is a good example of what happens when you combine federal bureaucracy with a hysterical media.*
If any oil from the Deepwater Horizon makes it to the Texas coast, it will not be in the form of a thick sludge. Weeks spent adrift at sea, subject to the sun and waves, will have changed the chemical composition of the oil by evaporating the lighter components. What*s left is what Gulf Coast residents call a tarball.
*Tarballs are a legitimate concern, but if they do begin to wash up we are prepared to deal with them just like we have in the past,* Patterson said. *Generally, they*re really not difficult to pick
Over the past five years, the oil spill program at the Texas General Land Office has responded to 53 reports of tarballs washing up on Texas beaches. Each time, the response is about the same: Workers with shovels and rakes go out and pick them up. Any tarballs found are sent for testing to determine their source.
If any tarballs from the Deepwater Horizon make it to Texas shores, the Land Office will work with the U.S. Coast Guard and BP to clean them up.