March oil spill just one of hundreds each year

A crew spreads a viscous snare along East Beach to trap oil Monday, March 24, 2014, in Galveston, Texas.  Thousands  of gallons of tar-like oil spilled into the major U.S. shipping channel after a barge ran into a ship Saturday. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
A crew spreads a viscous snare along East Beach to trap oil Monday, March 24, 2014, in Galveston, Texas. Thousands of gallons of tar-like oil spilled into the major U.S. shipping channel after a barge ran into a ship Saturday. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

HOUSTON (AP) — The March oil spill in the Houston Ship Channel is just one of the hundreds of spills occurring in Galveston Bay each year.

The Houston Chronicle reports that statistics from the Houston Advanced Research Center show that Galveston Bay has averaged 285 spills a year since 1998.

Most of those are tiny compared to the incident two weeks ago when a barge and a ship collided, causing as much as 170,000 gallons to spill into the water.

The spills in the bay average about 103 gallons each, according to the research center’s data. But vice president Lisa Gonzalez likens those spills to a “death by a thousand cuts” for wildlife and the quality of water in an environmentally sensitive area that’s also crucial for tourism and business.

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