As Floodwaters Rise, So Do Reports of Oil Spills

Torrential rainfall has washed oil and other toxic chemicals into the state’s waterways.

By Alain StephensJune 7, 2016 12:00 pm

Seventeen deaths, hundreds of homes flooded, a prison evacuation – all from the latest round of torrential rain in Texas. Now, hundreds of barrels of oil and other toxic chemicals have spilled into the state’s waterways.

The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the energy industry, points to at least nine incidents in two counties. But that’s far from the big picture. El Paso Times reporter Marty Schladen says reports of recent spills in Lee and Fayette Counties are just the tip of the iceberg.

“We don’t know for sure, but I suspect that yes, there are these production sites all over the we part of the state, and they’re in these stream and creek beds,” Schladen says. “I counted (Railroad Commission reports) up, and their reports cover 11 counties.”

What you’ll hear in this interview:

– Who is responsible for the cleanup

– Why the DPS ordered aerial photos of spills to be taken down

– Why these incidents are becoming more frequent