The catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf Coast is not only threatening coastal communities and marine life, but also has sparked widespread, intense debate among state governors and attorneys general, the White House and Congress; oil, gas and alternative energy leaders and environmentalists.

Many of these players are Texans.

Gov. Perry, with his
"act of God" comment, has made headlines and embarrassed countless Texans, including his opponent in the upcoming gubernatorial race, Democrat Bill White, who posted a ten-page paper on his blog, 'Understanding the BP Blowout and Its Implications." White, former mayor of Houston and an oil and energy expert, says sweeping generalizations such as Perry's are "not helpful in determining the path forward for offshore drilling." Neither Texan believes the massive oil spill means drilling should stop. On the other hand, on the West Coast Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger dropped his support for oil drilling.

Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, meanwhile, told a group of reporters in Wash., D. C., on Monday that the Obama administration is treating BP too harshly. Pickens, whose natural gas and alternative-energy plan gained national attention when unveiled in 2008, said he supports domestic drillinig as an alternative to dependence on foreign oil. But, he believes Obama will "keep his campaign promise to wean America off foreign oil in 10 years."

Another Texas connection to the oil spill is Houston-based Halliburton, which was providing services for BP such as  cementing, the method of capping a well to control pressure from the oil  and gas beneath. BP leased the rig from Transocean, also of Houston. Next week, officials from BP, Halliburton and Transocean are scheduled to testify before ongoing congressional committee hearings on the oil spill.

Although the oil spill has not been deemed a threat to Texas shores, shrimpers in the Houston area are concerned as is the Gulf Coast tourism industry.