Gulf of Mexico | Texas Public Radio

Gulf of Mexico

From Texas Standard:

This may be a difficult summer for Texas marine life. Experts predict a near-record dead zone, which is caused by heavy rainfall and agricultural activity along the Mississippi River that trickles down to Texas’ upper Gulf Coast.

Ten miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, off the tip of Louisiana, the fumes become overwhelming. "See how it's all rainbow sheen there? So that's oil," says Ian MacDonald, who's guiding us in a tiny fishing boat that's being tossed around by 6-foot waves.

MacDonald is a scientist at Florida State University where he studies oil spills. This one is not a black, sticky slick, but it stretches on for miles. And here, where the murky Mississippi River dumps into the Gulf, it's been leaking for more than 14 years.

There's a fight brewing over who can fish for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico, and for how long. And it's serious politics.

Recreational anglers pushed the Trump administration to intervene after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration set the shortest recreational snapper season on record – just three days in June. The result was a deal between the Commerce Department and Gulf states to extend the season.

Chris Eudaily / TPR News

It’s been over 4 years since the Deepwater Horizon explosion and BP oil spill. The underwater gusher pumped crude into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days and is considered the worst maritime oil disaster in history. The US Government estimated the total discharge at 5 million barrels. But that number is uncertain and there are some reports that the well site continues to leak oil into the Gulf.

In November 2012, BP and the Department of Justice reached a settlement and in part agreed to a record-setting $4 and a half billion dollars in fines and other payments.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is working on building an artificial reel off shore of Corpus Christi and this weekend they plan on sinking a ship in that effort. Dale Shively is the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s artificial reef program leader.

Ryan Poppe / Texas Public Radio

Texas Matters: In the last legislative session Gov. Perry threatened to and then vetoed the budget of the state's public integrity unit, a state agency that scrutinizes governmental affairs, when the Travis County district attorney, who oversees the unit, did not step down from her post. A special prosecutor is now looking into the case. Also on this show: The governor's race and pre-K, new addition to Texas public school curriculum, cleanup of oil spill on Texas coast, and endangered species vs. oil prospecting.

National Wildlife Federation (NWFblogs on Flickr) / cc

Texas is included in five of 28 restoration projects across the Gulf of Mexico under a conditional agreement between BP and Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees.

Texas Parks and Wildlife spokesman Tom Harvey said although the Texas coast was less visibly impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Texas wildlife was affected.