AUSTIN — Birds and other Texas coastal wildlife have not been affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Texas General Land Office.
And, if any tarballs from the spill make it to Texas shores, the Land Office will work with the U.S. Coast Guard and BP to clean them up, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said on June 7.
Governor Rick Perry’s office, according to its June 10 news release, participates in daily conference calls about the spill with the White House, Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and gulf state governors.
Texas Workforce Commission on June 8 announced it had sent mobile units to sites on the Louisiana coast. The two 34-foot-long units provide job search and referral services to people whose jobs have been affected by the disaster.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality activated 12 Mobile Response Spill Assessment Teams to monitor air quality, collect sediment and water samples, offer advice on waste disposal and provide training in shoreline clean-up techniques.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has its own oil spill response team and is conducting weekly conference calls with the Texas Department of Agriculture, Texas Sea Grant College Program and commercial fisheries. No fisheries have been closed along the Texas coast due to this oil spill, the agency said.
Meanwhile, the governor’s office said, Texas beaches remain open for summer recreation and business.
Group’s site puts spotlight on I-35
The Texas Department of Transportation on Oct. 7, 2009, officially pronounced it would no longer pursue the Trans-Texas Corridor project, a plan to transform Interstate 35 into a conduit for vehicles, rail and utilities.
But, improvements are still on the drawing board for I-35, which runs from Laredo to the Oklahoma border north of Gainesville.
Citizens who have an interest in the highway’s future might take a gander at www.my35.org.
The web site launched June 9 by the I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee focuses on efforts to plan future improvements and on current activities, such as construction on the stretch between the central Texas communities of Salado and Hillsboro.
White responds to poke by Perry
Bill White, Democratic candidate for governor, disclosed in his tax return and financial statement that he invested in a Houston-based company, BTEC Turbines LP, in 2006.
After White released his financial information, incumbent Gov. Perry said White should end his candidacy because while White was mayor of Houston, he personally profited as a result of public money spent with BTEC because of Hurricane Rita.
White rejected Perry’s suggestion, pointing out the investment was made a year after hurricanes Rita and Katrina hit in fall 2005.
In White’s response to Perry’s accusation, he said, “Perry took no issue with my leadership in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita until this election year.”
In other political news, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Perry’s chief opponent in the Republican primary, on June 11 publicly stated she supports Perry’s re-election campaign.
On June 12 at the Republican Party of Texas convention in Dallas, delegates voted to elect Houston attorney Steve Munisteri as party chairman.
The Texas Democratic Party on June 10 filed a lawsuit to learn who funded a petition drive to put the Green Party of Texas on the Nov. 2 election ballot.
The Green Party agreed to wait to submit its list of candidates to the state for ballot certification until a court rules on the lawsuit. At its convention in San Antonio, the Green Party nominated retired teacher Deb Shafto of Houston as its candidate for governor.
The Libertarian Party, at its convention in Austin on June 12 nominated Kathie Glass, a Houston attorney, as its candidate for governor.
Texas participates in world expo
A Texas economic development and tourism delegation led by Gov. Perry is overseas attending “Salute to Texas Week” at the world’s fair, Expo 2010 Shanghai China.
Texas Week, which runs June 13-19 in the USA Pavilion, is part of a six-month global event expected to draw some 70 million visitors.
Texas paid $425,000 to sponsor its own week. Funding came through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism and the business groups TexasOne and Greater Houston Partnership.