"Tar balls hit Texas, whose governor said the BP disaster was an ˜act of god"
Back in May, speaking at trade association supported by BP, Texas Gov. Perry (R) claimed the rig disaster was an ‘act of God.’ Now the oil has hit his shores, and TP has the story.
Tar balls have now hit every single state on the Gulf Coast, “after a bucket’s worth of tar balls hit a Texas beach.” The AP reports:
The oil’s arrival in Texas was predicted Friday by an analysis from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which gave a 40 percent chance of crude reaching the area.
“It was just a matter of time that some of the oil would find its way to Texas,” said Hans Graber, a marine physicist at the University of Miami and co-director of the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing.
About five gallons of tar balls were found Saturday on the Bolivar Peninsula, northeast of Galveston, said Capt. Marcus Woodring, the Coast Guard commander for the Houston/Galveston sector. Two gallons were found Sunday on the peninsula and Galveston Island, though tests have not yet confirmed the oil’s origin.
Texas Land Commissioner responded, “Any Texas shores impacted by the Deepwater spill will be cleaned up quickly and BP will be picking up the tab.” In an initial statement, Perry said that he wanted to “assure Texans that we are taking aggressive steps to address this situation and to mitigate any effects to our beaches.” Recently, Perry was being far more conciliatory to BP about the oil disaster. In fact, in May “” at a trade association conference funded by BP “” Perry said that the oil spill wasn’t BP’s fault at all:
“We don’t know what the event that has allowed for this massive oil to be released,” Perry said alongside several other governors on a panel Monday. “And until we know that, I hope we don’t see a knee-jerk reaction across this country that says we’re going to shut down drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, because the cost to this country will be staggering.” Perry questioned whether the spill was “just an act of God that occurred” and said that any “politically driven” decisions could put the U.S. in further economic peril. “From time to time there are going to be things that occur that are acts of God that cannot be prevented,” Perry said.
He later tried to walk back his comments, saying that a “mechanical failure” was possibly the cause. He nevertheless added, “I don’t think that a big wave came along at a very inopportune time and caused”¦but I don’t know that.” He also said that BP has “historically had a very good safety record from my perspective,” even though a BP refinery in Texas released more than 400 pounds a day of benzene over a 40-day period from early April to mid May 2010.
In 2009, BP donated $250,000 to restore Perry’s “arson-burned” mansion “” the largest contribution from more than 400 businesses and individuals who gave to the project. According to the Houston Chronicle, in 2005, Perry announced “that the Texas Enterprise Fund would give BP America up to $ 750,000 to create 150 jobs as it spins off its chemicals business,” although it was soon revealed that 50 of those jobs were for people who already worked for BP and lived in the area. Critics said it was “a classic case of getting paid for doing what you’re going to do anyway.”
This is a Think Progress cross-post.