Local News

Mar 25, 2014 8:14 AM by Miranda Leah - @MirandaLeahKRIS

Is the Gulf Of Mexico Protected?

HOUSTON - The Gulf of Mexico is considered our nation's most important marine resource, so it's no surprise that people are dedicated to protecting and preserving it.

The Harte Research Institute, of A&M - Corpus Christi, is hosting "The State of the Gulf of Mexico Summit" this week. More than 400 oceanographers and marine researchers are attending the summit to discuss the state of our gulf.

Just last week, a barge collision spilled around 170-thousand gallons of oil into Galveston Bay.

Many of those invested in the gulf are calling the spill a reality check."These things will happen, we have to be prepared for them," said Dr. Larry McKinney. "We ask that question, are we really prepared for them? and frankly, sometimes, the answer is no."

This summit is all part of an effort to change that answer.

The key focus of this year is preparation and restoration. Organizers hope that by hearing ideas from state and federal agencies, and other organizations, they can develop a common vision for restoring the gulf.

"I hate to say there's anything good that comes out of an oil spill, but it sure punctuated why we're all here," said McKinney. "Are we better prepared for oil spills now than we were before (the 2010 oil spill) Macando? That's what we're really talking about at our conference today."

Stakeholders from around the United States, Mexico, and Cuba are joining in on that conversation this year, which continues until Thursday.

The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies was founded more than ten years ago, with a $46 million grant from Mr. Ed Harte. The research is focused on the long-term health of the Gulf of Mexico, both economically and ecologically.

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