No Major Spills at this Time
To Report Spills
In 1989, the Exxon Valdez gushed 10.8 million gallons of oil onto the shoreline of Alaska, which lacked an adequate response plan. Then in 1990, Texas had its own environmental scare when the tanker Mega Borg spilled 5.1 million gallons of oil 57 miles southeast of Galveston while offloading crude onto another tanker. The next year, the Texas Legislature created the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program at the Texas General Land Office.
With more than 1.2 billion barrels of oil passing near Texas wetlands, bays and beaches along the Texas Gulf Coast each year, the Texas General Land Office Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program (OSPR) has the responsibility of making sure that oil stays out of Texas waters.
Accomplishing that task requires cooperation with the ports, industrial plants and petroleum refineries that are the keystone to the state’s economy, as well as commercial shrimpers, fishermen and others who work and play on the water. The Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program responds to about 900 reported oil spills each year and works closely with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Texas’ Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program is world-renowned for its pro-active, preventive approach to keeping oil out of the state’s waters. The program is funded by a one and one-third cents-per-barrel fee on crude oil loaded or off-loaded in Texas ports. Five Oil Spill field offices are located along the Texas coast to serve as resources to the public and monitor the gulf waters along our Texas shore.
Education and outreach efforts have been established by visiting schools, associations, and interest groups, teaching that many small, chronic spills can be as detrimental as one large spill. Learn More
Prevention is key. That’s why the teams from the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program patrol the Texas coast. They make sure that the operators of deep draft vessels, pipelines and shore-based facilities that handle oil are ready and able to respond to a disaster. The Bilge Water Reclamation Program was established along the Texas coast as an innovative response to the large number of small spills from commercial and recreational vessels. The Land Office constructed bilge water reclamation and used oil facilities in designated areas and partnered with local, city, county and private entities to operate them. Learn More
When oil does spill into the water, the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program goes into action, working with the U.S. Coast Guard and the responsible party and directing resources aimed at stopping, containing and cleaning up oil spills. Protection of the state’s natural assets is the top priority. The Texas Oil Spill Planning and Response Toolkit is the most comprehensive oil spill preparedness tool available. Learn More
Keeping oil out of the water requires keeping a close eye on businesses or other facilities on the coast that handle oil. Oil Spill Prevention and Response crews conduct regular audits to ensure that every maritime facility in Texas has an oil spill response plan before there’s a crisis. Learn More
In preparation for spills, the program has pre-staged response equipment in sensitive and geographically advantageous locations. The program also maintains a substantial inventory of response equipment including mobile command posts, husbandry and wildlife rehabilitation trailers, fire boom, skimmers, vehicles and vessels. Learn More (pdf)
The Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program is one of only a few state programs in the nation that fund oil spill prevention and response-related research. Learn More