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Reacting to the Oil Spill

UH Offers Experts to Address Ship Channel Oil Spill

March 24, 2014— The impact to environment, energy and industry continue to play out in the Houston Ship Channel after a barge carrying nearly a million gallons of heavy oil slammed into a ship, spilling thousands of gallons of oil in the channel that connects Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.  As you pursue resources related to this story, here are experts from the University of Houston. 

PenningsSteve Pennings: A professor in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry, Pennings is an expert in community ecology who conducts research in coastal wetlands, specifically, the impact on salt marshes, which are an important nursery and feeding grounds for commercial shrimp, fish, crabs and oysters. Reach him at 713-743-2989 or 

DonDon Van Nieuwenhuise: Director of the Professional Geosciences Program at UH, Van Nieuwenhuise is available to discuss the scope of the crisis, including issues related to biodegradation and the delicacy of the estuarine environment, as well as marine-train and truck transportation of oil vs. pipeline safety. Reach him at 713-743-3423 or

westbrookLydia Westbrook: A lecturer on the cruise industry and tourism, Westbrook expects the industry to brace for a turbulent ride while the containment and clean up of the oil spill continue. To date, two cruise ships have been delayed in leaving Galveston Island. Reach her at 713-743-2578 or

To schedule an interview with any of these experts, please contact the UH media relations team.