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Several environmental groups raise concerns on Flint Hills Resources December oil spill

March 30, 2023

KRIS 6 News
Alexis Scott
Original Article


CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Local environmentalist groups in Corpus Christi are raising concerns about the lack of updates from Flint Hills Resources Ingleside Terminal regarding the oil spill that happened on December 24, 2023.

The initial report from Flint Hills Resources stated more than 3,000 gallons of light crude oil was released. It was later determined to be more than 14,000 gallons.

According to the company, the oil spill was caused by a pipe failure. Light crude oil was found in several locations including North Beach, Corpus Christi Marina, Indian Point, Nueces Bay, the Rookery Island, a dredge material placement area and University Beach near Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.

Elida Castillo with Chispa Texas says she’s been working to get answers from the company. Now, more than three months later, she says she and other community members are frustrated that they’re being left in the dark when it comes to their environment.

“I think the biggest concern was the lack of information,” said Castillo, “We were just being told ‘every thing is okay now. There’s no reason for you to be concerned.’ But we’re like “No,” an oil spill is kind of a big deal.”

Armon Alex, the Vice President of the Mayor’s Environmental Task Force, went to University Beach with other community members to help clean up. He says although crews were at the beach following the spill, the mess was still visible weeks later.

“When I got to University Beach and I got to the shoreline, I couldn’t take more than three steps without coming across some of the oil that was washing up on our shorelines,” said Alex.

Just recently, he collected washed up paraffin wax pieces that he says are still on the beach. Alex says the impact of the oil spill has also affected wildlife.

“Here we are three months later and we don’t know anything,” said Sanchez, “It wasn’t communicated properly about what happened. We don’t know the damage it has done to the water or to the animals. We know for sure it has done some damage and we just want answers, we want transparency.”

Although with their concerns, the groups say they want to be updated on Flint Hills Resources’ preventative measures so a spill like this doesn’t happen again.

Other groups supporting the push for transparency and accountability are For the Greater Good, Hillcrest Residents Association, Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association, South Texas Human Rights Center and Texas Campaign for the Environment.

Flint Hills released a statement regarding the progress of the oil spill saying, “Flint Hills Resources is continuing to monitor and recover paraffin material trapped in breakwaters and jetties that occasionally washes up on the shoreline at North Beach and University Beach. We will maintain the ability to respond to residual material that may be reported by the public. At this time an investigation is underway to determine the root of the cause. Once complete, that information will be shared with the relevant regulatory agencies.”

Flint hills resources says they have shared their necessary updates with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Texas General Land Office and the City of Corpus Christi. They add the investigation of the oil spill is on track to finish next month.

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