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spill in Tx

Crude oil poured out of a storage tank at Marathon Petroleum's Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City on October 6, 2021. (Photo: KPRC/screenshot)

'Another Day, Another Catastrophic Oil Spill': Leak in Texas Fuels Calls to 'Keep It in the Ground'

"We must transition to a renewable energy future as fast as we can."

Jessica Corbett

A crude oil spill at a Marathon Petroleum refinery in Texas City outside of Houston on Wednesday—just the latest in a series of recent leaks—sparked fresh calls for rapidly phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to 100% renewable energy.

"The crazy thing is to expect that this won't keep on happening every damn day until we just keep the oil in the ground."

"The crazy thing is to expect that this won't keep on happening every damn day until we just keep the oil in the ground. #KeepItInTheGround," tweeted Nathaniel Stinnett, executive director of Environmental Voter Project, with footage of the scene at the Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery.

ABC 13 reports that Bruce Clawson, interim director of Homeland Security for Texas City, said the failure of a pump seal at the facility caused oil to pour out of the side of a tank. No one was injured but the incident led to road closures, according to Chron.

Both Clawson and Marathon Petroleum spokesperson Jamal T. Kheiry said the spill is contained to the facility, which has a refining capacity of 593,000 barrels of oil per day.

"The refinery has deployed air monitoring in the community as a precaution, and there is no indication of risk to the community," Kheiry said in a statement. "Cleanup is underway, and regulatory notifications have been made."

The incident in Texas City comes just days after one of the worst oil spills in Southern California's history—which also drew attention to national fossil fuel policies and practices.

"Fossil fuels pollute. First the California spill, now this," Northwest Progressive Institute tweeted Wednesday, linking to a report on the situation in Texas. "We must transition to a renewable energy future as fast as we can. That's why we need climate investments in the #BuildBackBetter bill."

Democratic lawmakers and the White House are still negotiating the details of the Build Back Better bill. The climate and social safety net package, which is set to include several parts of President Joe Biden's agenda, has been held up by opposition from two right-wing Democrats.

While welcoming the president and congressional Democrats' efforts to enact climate legislation via the budget reconciliation process, progressive campaigners have also called out the Biden administration for moving forward with fossil fuel leases for public lands and waters.

Friends of the Earth Action echoed that criticism in a tweet about Texas, declaring, "Another day, another catastrophic oil spill that will massively harm local wildlife and environment."

The Biden administration "claims to care about the climate crisis—yet it continues to open up public lands and waters to Big Oil," the group said. "This is why that cannot continue."

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