(AUSTIN) – Texas State University System Chancellor Brian McCall, Ph.D., announced today that Lamar University will join the Gulf Project, a coalition of scientists, policy experts and researchers working to protect Texas’ economy and environment in the event of a disaster such as the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Lamar University offers extensive research, monitoring and response capabilities that could help prevent and respond to disasters along the Gulf Coast,” said McCall. “I want to thank Governor Perry for recognizing the value of these assets and for inviting Lamar University to participate in this important project.”
Situated near the Gulf Coast in Beaumont, Lamar University is well-positioned and well-equipped to respond to maritime oil spills. LU offers remote sensing, GPS and GIS technology to identify and map the impact of oil spills. This technology, housed at the Lamar Geospacial Center, could be used to monitor the long-term effects of oil spills on wildlife, habitat, the economy and physical features of the Gulf Coast.
“I’m pleased that Lamar University is joining our Gulf Project partners to identify ways to help Texas become the leader in developing the next generation in offshore oil exploration safety and response,” Gov. Rick Perry said. “Lamar’s resources and technology, position on the coast, and proximity to the oil and gas industry will help expand our knowledge and response capabilities, and ensure that Texas never endures the environmental and economic disaster associated with the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion.”
LU has developed extensive expertise in hazardous waste management and disposal, including the ability to neutralize some hazardous materials. LU researchers and scientists have also spent years closely monitoring Gulf Coast beaches, marshes and other ecosystems and studied the ecological impacts of natural and man-made disasters on these systems.
In addition to serving as a center for research, LU is the nation’s top producer of master’s degrees in chemical engineering. Petrochemical facilities in the region served by LU refine about 11 percent of the nation’s petrochemical imports, about 12 percent of the nation’s gasoline and 30-40 percent of the nation’s jet fuel.
Other institutions involved in the Gulf Project along with LU include several Texas universities, the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Railroad Commission and the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA).