Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Department of Water Resources, Enforcement and Field Operations Division:

An Inventory of Department of Water Resources Enforcement and Field Operations Division Ixtoc I Oil Spill Records at the Texas State Archives, 1979-1981



Overview

Creator: Texas. Department of Water Resources. Enforcement and Field Operations Division.
Title: Department of Water Resources Enforcement and Field Operations Division Ixtoc I oil spill records
Dates: 1979-1981
Abstract: The Texas Department of Water Resources was in existence from 1977 to 1985, and was responsible for developing Texas' water resources, maintaining the quality of water, and ensuring equitable distribution of water rights. The department was created in 1977 by combining three existing Texas water agencies (Senate Bill 1139, 65th Texas Legislature, Regular Session). On June 3, 1979, in the Bay of Campeche off the Yucatan Peninsula, an oil well named Ixtoc I experienced a blowout, explosion, and fire that resulted in the destruction and sinking of the rig. The Enforcement and Field Operations Division of the Texas Department of Water Resources began to monitor the spill and prepare a response plan. Over the next 10 months, the department cooperated with federal and state agencies in cleanup and containment operations until the flow of oil was stopped in March 1980. Records documenting the state and federal response to the spill include reports, correspondence and interoffice memoranda, press releases, newspaper clippings, prepared statements for press conferences, telephone messages, lists of available and interested persons, presentations and transcripts of testimony from Congressional and Legislative Committee hearings, copies of federal and state legislation and federal regulations, maps, aerial photographs, slides, charts, personal logs and diaries and notes, dating 1979-1981.
Quantity: 4.25 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written predominately in English with scattered Spanish throughout.
Repository: Texas State Archives
Sponsor: This EAD finding aid was created in cooperation with Texas Archival Resources Online.

Agency History

The Texas Department of Water Resources existed from 1977 to 1985. The department was created by the Texas Legislature in 1977 (Senate Bill 1139, 65th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) by combining three existing water agencies; the Texas Water Development Board, the Texas Water Rights Commission and the Water Quality Board, into a single agency that "was responsible for developing Texas' water resources, maintaining the quality of water, and ensuring equitable distribution of water rights." The department existed until 1985 when sunset legislation (Senate Bill 249, 69th Legislature, Regular Session) reorganized the department into two separate agencies, the Texas Water Commission and the Texas Water Development Board.

Event History

On June 3, 1979, an exploratory oil well named Ixtoc I, located in the Bay of Campeche off the Yucatan Peninsula, experienced a blowout, explosion, and fire that resulted in the destruction and sinking of the rig. A contractor of the Mexican-owned oil company PEMEX (Petróleos Mexicanos) was drilling the well using an oil rig of the Texas-based firm SEDCO. The spill averaged 30,000 barrels of oil per day. The Enforcement and Field Operations division of the Texas Department of Water Resources began to monitor the spill and prepare a response plan. Over the next 10 months, the department cooperated with federal and state agencies in cleanup and containment operations until the flow of oil was stopped in March 1980. As outlined by both federal and state laws and regulations, the operations were directed by a national response team. The federal on-scene coordinator for this team was U.S. Coast Guard Captain Roger Madson. The national response team was assisted by a regional response team; the state on-scene response coordinated by John Latchford of the Texas Department of Water Resources. Dick Whittington, deputy director of the Texas Department of Water Resources, was the department's representative to the regional response team.

In addition to the U.S. Coast Guard, other federal agencies involved in these activities included the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Parks Service, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Hearings were also held before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries and the Committee on Public Works and Transportation as well as the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Several agencies were also involved at the state level, including the Governor's Disaster Emergency Services Center, Texas Department of Highways and Public Transportation, Texas National Guard, Texas Department of Health, Texas Attorney General, Texas Air Control Board, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Texas General Land Office. Hearings were also conducted by the Texas House of Representatives Committee on Environmental Affairs and the Texas Senate Natural Resources Committee. The regional response team also included, or was assisted by, officials of locally affected municipalities and counties, representatives of industry, academics (especially from Texas A&M University), and members of interested organizations and associations.

(Sources include: Texas Water Development Board website; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution website; and Senate Bill 1139, 65th Texas Legislature, Regular Session and Senate Bill 249, 69th Texas Legislature, Regular Session at Legislative Reference Library of Texas, all accessed May 10, 2017; and the records themselves.)


Scope and Contents of the Records

The Texas Department of Water Resources existed from 1977-1985 and "was responsible for developing Texas' water resources, maintaining the quality of water, and ensuring equitable distribution of water rights". On June 3, 1979, in the Bay of Campeche off the Yucatan Peninsula, an oil well named Ixtoc I experienced a blowout, explosion, and fire that resulted in the destruction and sinking of the rig. Mexican-owned oil company PEMEX (Petróleos Mexicanos) was drilling the well using an oil rig of the Texas-based firm SEDCO. The Enforcement and Field Operations Division of the Texas Department of Water Resources began to monitor the spill and prepare a response plan. Operations were directed by a national response team headed by federal on-scene coordinator U.S. Coast Guard Captain Roger Madson.

Materials documenting the state and federal response to the oil spill include reports from agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and from Texas A&M University's Dr. Roy Hann; letters from Governor William Clements; correspondence and interoffice memoranda; press releases; newspaper clippings (including political cartoons); prepared statements for press conferences; telephone messages; lists of available and interested persons; presentations and transcripts of testimony from Congressional and Legislative committee hearings; copies of federal and state legislation and federal regulations; maps; aerial photographs; slides; charts; notes; and personal logs and diaries kept by John Latchford and by Texas Department of Water Resources central office coordinator David Barker.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


Arrangement of the Records

The records are arranged as received.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

Researchers are required to wear gloves provided by the State Archives when reviewing photographic materials.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Madson, Roger L., 1931-
Latchford, John B., Jr., 1934-2009
Hann, R. W. (Roy William), 1934-.
Barker, David, 1945-
Clements, William P., 1917-2011.
Corporate Names:
Texas. Department of Water Resources.
Texas. Parks and Wildlife Department.
Texas A & M University.
United States. Environmental Protection Agency.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Subjects (Organizations):
Petróleos Mexicanos.
SEDCO, Inc.
Subjects:
Oil spills--Mexico--Campeche, Bay of.
Oil spills--Texas--Gulf Coast--Management.
Oil spills--Environmental aspects--Texas.
Oil well drilling rigs.
Oil pollution of rivers, harbors, etc.--Texas--Gulf Region.
Environmental agencies--Texas.
Environmental agencies--United States.
Places:
Campeche, Bay of (Mexico).
Yucatan Peninsula.
Document Types:
Official reports--Texas.
Official reports--United States.
Correspondence--Texas.
Memorandums--Texas.
Press releases--Texas.
Clippings files--United States.
Political cartoons--Texas.
Speeches--Texas.
Transcripts--Texas.
Testimonies--Texas.
Legislation--Texas.
Legislation--United States.
Regulations (executive records)--United States.
Coastal zone maps--Texas.
Maps (documents)--Texas.
Aerial photographs--Texas.
Diaries--Texas.
Logs (records)--Texas.
Field notes--Texas.
Slides (photographs)--Texas.
Functions:
Disaster planning.
Protecting natural resources.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Water Commission records, 1941-1942, 1956-1971, 1977-1981, 1 cubic ft.
Texas Water Commission minutes, 1913-1986, 7.51 cubic ft.
Texas Water Development Board meeting files, 1963-1967, 1974-2010, 34.35 cubic ft.
Texas Governor Mark White records, Audiovisual materials, 1978-1986, undated, 35 cubic ft. [Restricted]
Texas Attorney General, Mark White correspondence and subject files, 1975-1982, bulk 1979-1982, 10 cubic ft.
Texas Attorney General, Mark White records, 1978-1982, 3 cubic ft.
Texas Legislature, House of Representatives, Committee on Environmental Regulation records, Committee meeting and public hearing files, 1979-1995, 5.6 cubic ft. [Restricted]
Publications
Hooper, Craig H., The IXTOC I oil spill: the Federal scientific response, Boulder, Colo., U.S. Dept. of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Marine Pollution Assessment, 1982.
Energy Resources Co., Ixtoc oil spill assessment: final report, Cambridge, Mass., Energy Resources Co., 1982.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the item), Texas Department of Water Resources Enforcement and Field Operations Division Ixtoc I oil spill records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession number: 1991/007

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Water Commission, Hazardous and Solid Waste Division, Superfund and Emergency Response Section, Emergency Response Unit on September 13, 1990.

Processing Information

Processed by Tony Black, December 1990

DACS compliance and EAD encoding by Angela Swift, May 2017


Detailed Description of the Records

Department of Water Resources, Enforcement and Field Operations Division Ixtoc I oil spill records, 1979-1981,
4.25 cubic ft.

Box
1991/007-1 Texas Department of Water Resources (TDWR) reports to governor, Pemex oil well blowout, Bay of Campeche
State's involvement in spill response
Chronological summary
Ixtoc I pol reps (pollution reports)
[2 folders]
Newspaper clippings, Pemex oil well blowout, Bay of Campeche
State Senate and House Committee hearings
U.S. Senate and House Committee hearings
House Resolution 7245 by Ron Paul
Preliminary reports by federal agencies
Department of State, Congressional hearing, U.S. - Mexico relations information, September 9, 1979
Environmental Protection Agency's role in Bay of Campeche spill response effort, Antelope information
Regional news office update
Press conferences
Telephone messages
Box
1991/007-2 Signed governor's letters (in alphabetical order)
Correspondence, no reply requested, Pemex oil well blowout, Bay of Campeche
John B. Latchford (on-scene coordinator) notes
John B. Latchford personal chronology of spill
Texas Department of Water Resources Campeche Bay oil spill, Ixtoc I: Phase II (John Latchford's diaries)
[3 notebooks]
Personal logs of David Barker
[4 steno books]
Dr. Roy Hann's report on Ixtoc I and critique
[2 binders]
Roy Hann oil spill reports
Box
1991/007-3 Airborne oil surveillance system (AOSS)
Overflights, aerial reconnaissance: C130, P3, AOSS
AOSS general information
Campeche oil spill
[includes aerial photographs and slides]
Damage assessment program
Damage assessment
Damage assessment, Ixtoc I 1979
Staff reports on Ixtoc I effects
Maps
Quantity of oil impacting beaches
Oil sampling data
American Petroleum Institute dispersant test plan, California
Preliminary report by Texas A&M University
Coast Guard contract information: Bay and estuary protection
Box
1991/007-4 State Disaster Emergency Services council meetings at Emergency Operations Center
Ixtoc I oil spill
State and local contacts
State costs in spill response
Legal developments
PETROBAC correspondence, Ixtoc I oil spill
Ixtoc I oil spill reports, Campeche Bay, Gulf of Mexico
State costs, Ixtoc I oil spill
Follow-up, Ixtoc I oil spill
TDWR Ixtoc I oil spill response contingency plan
Spill response phased reduction and readiness plan
Contingency measures and other agencies' comments
Personnel, phone numbers
TDWR's and other Texas agencies' roles
Brock committee (information for D.W.), August 23, 1979
Beach characteristics
Oil (surface) identification guide
Beach impacts: Miles Hayes
Road oil (toxicity, letters)
Notes of staff meetings
National and regional response team meeting, July 26, 1979
National and regional response team meeting, August 9, 1979
National and regional response team meeting, August 17, 1979
Chronology of spill, news response
Miscellaneous
Regional news office role/TDWR representative
Public suggestions for clean up, etc.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department permit for fill activities
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Birds, turtles, etc., status
U.S. Coast Guard terminology
Box
1991/007-5 Miscellaneous
Close out, Ixtoc