New Facility to Help Rescue Oiled Wildlife at Marine Science Institute

The University of Texas Marine Science Institute opened the new Oiled Wildlife Facility in Port Aransas, Texas on Tuesday.

The facility was created thanks in large part to funding from Valero Energy given to the Marine Science Institute (MSI) by the Texas General Land Office.

"It took us almost four years to complete the project, but it is the only facility in South Texas designed specifically for handling oiled wildlife," said Lee Fuiman, director of MSI. "In the event of a spill in which wildlife are affected, the Texas General Land Office will mobilize trained professionals who will come to MSI to deal with the animals."

In times when there are no oiled animals, the facilities will be used by the institute's Animal Rehabilitation Keep personnel in their other efforts. Even before its official grand opening, the Oiled Wildlife Facility was a critical resource that helped accommodate an enormous number of cold-stunned sea turtles that the institute received in February.

The grand opening was organized by the Texas General Land Office and Valero Energy. In attendance were Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal, Nueces County Commissioner Joe McCombs, Port Aransas Mayor pro tem Rick Pratt and Gaye White from Texas Rep. Todd Hunter's office.