Staff Writergallons of oil and has started to block the Houston Ship Channel. Immediate connections to the BP oil spill of 2010 are evident, as crude oil poured relentlessly into the Gulf of Mexico. The major difference between the two is that this was a one-time spill and there isn’t a pipe that needs to be fixed. However, with the spill occurring in the middle of the channel, economic and environmental ramifications are already beginning to show. The spill blocked around sixty (60) vessels, including cruise ships that share the channel, and it will take several days to clean up. Conservation director for the Houston Audubon Society, Richard Gibbons, has stated he has already begun to receive reports and photographs of birds covered in oil near the Bolivar Flats Shorebird Sanctuary. “There could be hundreds or thousands of birds of various species in the area affected by the spill,” says Tom Harvey of the Texas Parks and Wildlife. "Oiled birds are being taken to triage trailers with hot water and basic facilities to begin cleaning the birds, staged near the spill area." With the area experiencing hits to small businesses, fishing, and recreation, officials will try to do whatever it takes to get the mess cleaned up as soon as possible. Governor Rick Perry has assured the public the spill has been contained and the cleanup will do whatever it can to avoid impacting the environment and commerce. It is still unknown what caused the spill on the barge carrying close to a million gallons of marine fuel oil. Two of the crew members who were aboard the tug boat pulling the barge have been hospitalized as a precaution due to the exposure from hydrogen sulfide.
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