Experts: Oil spill shows need for increased pipeline usage - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Experts: Oil spill shows need for increased pipeline usage

The recent oil spill caused by a barge in the Houston Ship Channel will likely not have a major effect on gas prices, according to a local gas price expert. The recent oil spill caused by a barge in the Houston Ship Channel will likely not have a major effect on gas prices, according to a local gas price expert.
Marine life is being affected by the oil spill. Marine life is being affected by the oil spill.
(KLTV) - The recent oil spill caused by a barge in the Houston Ship Channel will likely not have a major affect on gas prices, according to a local gas price expert. The concern comes after a barge and cargo ship collided near Texas City over the weekend, spilling more than 180,000 of marine oil into the waters.

University of Texas at Tyler's Harold Doty, Ph.D., said if the Houston ship channel, one of the nation's busiest seaports, is closed for a short period of time, there will be zero effect on prices at the pump.

"Earlier reports had it closed through the week and reopening maybe Friday, and if it's closed that long, we could see a short-term spike in prices," Doty said.

Another East Texas economic expert said the incident in the channel shows the importance of safety during the transportation of oil.

Tyler Economic Development Council President/CEO Tom Mullins said this is an example of why the White House should give the complete approval to the Keystone XL Pipeline that would connect Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast. Currently, it only has approval for the section from Cushing, Oklahoma, to the Gulf Coast.

"The Keystone Pipeline is the controversial one," Mullins said. "It's very safely built; there have been no accidents with that, so now we need the president to approve the rest of the project."

Mullins said this incident is why he believes oil should be primarily transported through pipelines rather than the more dangerous methods by rail and by sea.

"It speaks to finding the most efficient way to move that product, and all the studies have shown pipeline option is the best way," Mullins said.

The full Keystone XL project remains in limbo, stalled waiting on approval from the State Department, while the Gulf of Mexico cleans up from its latest spill.

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