LA PORTE – Gov. Rick Perry today outlined Texas’ plans for responding to the threats posed by Hurricane Alex and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill along the Texas coast. The State Operations Center is fully activated and the state continues to work with federal and local authorities to track both the hurricane and the spill.
“As Hurricane Alex grows in strength and approaches landfall, Texas is ready to handle this storm and its impact,” Gov. Perry said. “My message to South Texans is to finish your preparations, stay connected to credible information sources and heed the warnings of your local officials, who are closely integrated with the state’s emergency management effort that has been mobilized to prepare for Alex’s impact.”
Parts of South Texas remain in the impact area of Hurricane Alex, which the National Weather Service projects will make landfall south of Brownsville Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. Gov. Perry has declared a state of disaster for 19 counties in South Texas, and President Barack Obama has issued an emergency declaration that allows the state to pursue some federal assistance.
The governor was joined by Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who provided an update on the Texas General Land Office’s (GLO) efforts in monitoring and preparing contingency plans to respond to any potential impact Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have on Texas.
“Texas has a long history in the energy industry, and because oil regularly comes in and out of our ports, we have prepared ourselves to respond to any incidents, and have a good record of keeping our beaches clean and the bays and wetlands clear of oil,” Commissioner Patterson said. "As a steward of the Texas coast, I am confident that we have the resources and plans in place with our Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program to address any potential impact this oil spill may have on the Texas coast."
Although oil from the spill is not predicted to reach Texas shores in the immediate future, any oil reaching Texas beaches is expected to be in the form of weathered tar balls, which cannot be prevented by boom deployment and would necessitate aggressive physical removal. The GLO has five coastal offices equipped with boats, 4×4 trucks, trailers, ATVs, and skimmers available for response activities. Silt curtains could be deployed to protect washouts.
The Office of the Governor continues to participate in daily conference calls with the White House, Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and gulf state governors regarding the oil spill.