Local experts worried about Alex hitting Gulf oil spill - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/29/10

Local experts worried about Alex hitting Gulf oil spill

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By Tiffany Pelt - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – As tropical storm Alex is gaining strength, local experts are worried what it might do to the oil spilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The problem is we don't know where all the oil has gone in the gulf," said Texas Tech Environmental Director Ron Kendall. That's because the majority of the oil is hidden under the surface. "We don't know where it's going to come up, and we don't know where it's going to end up on the beaches particularly on the Texas coast," said Kendall

The millions of gallons of oil mixed with hurricane strength winds and waves will spread the oil even more causing contamination in new places and the Texas Coast is in danger.

"If the storm surge did happen to bring oil to the coast line in particular to Laguna Madre, this could be devastating to the southern Texas coast where the major impact of Alex will occur. Thousands and thousands of birds are nesting right on the coast line so it's a very dangerous situation," said Kendall.

For the past two months Kendall has been sending teams to the coast to gather samples of oil from the soils. "We're going to have a very good handle of any oil contamination that may be caused by the hurricane coming ashore," he said.

His teams will begin putting oil in exposure tanks to see how it affects crabs, and what it'll take to fix the contamination. He even has a team leaving Wednesday morning to assess the damages Alex will cause and are thinking of better ways to contain the oil before it spreads even more.

"If it gets in the Gulf current it could be taken into the Keys and right up the eastern seaboard and there's nothing to hold it back from going even further. This national problem now, its Americas problem not just the Gulf states," said Kendall.

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