SPILLS

Texas Oil Spill Worst in Decades

As much as 11,000 barrels of crude oil leaked into the waterway at Port Arthur, Texas, Saturday after a barge punctured a hole in a double-hull ship. It’s the largest crude spill in Texas in more than two decades. The waterway is crucial to Port Arthur, as the Sabine/Neches shipping channel is a major transit point for oil used at nearby refineries, and if the oil is not contained, the region's natural habitats may be affected. Although the Coast Guard said it appeared the oil is not moving due to the net-like enclosures surrounding the area, spokesman Lionel Bryant warned that "with the currents, we can start losing some to the south." Investigators have yet to figure out the cause of the spill. Exxon Mobil, which chartered the vessel, also owned the Exxon Valdez, which dumped 11 million gallons of crude in Alaska’s Prince William Sound in 1989.