Feb. 2 report compiles independent monitoring data
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY— Citing the public’s right to know why an oil rig 11 miles off the coast of Louisiana has been leaking oil for seven years, a coalition of watchdog and environmental groups has filed a lawsuit against Taylor Energy Company LLC.
The lawsuit, filed last week in federal court by the Waterkeeper Alliance and several Gulf Coast Waterkeeper organizations, aims to halt the spill and to make public the facts of the company’s seven-year response and recovery operation. The lawsuit claims that the damaged operation has been leaking several hundred gallons per day into the Gulf of Mexico.
“The plaintiffs filed suit to stop the spill and lift the veil of secrecy surrounding Taylor Oil’s seven-year long response and recovery operation,” said Marc Yaggi, Executive Director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Neither the government nor Taylor will answer basic questions related to the spill response, citing privacy concerns.”
The public deserves to know how this spill happened and why it continues. Coastal communities should understand the risks involved in developing off-shore oil resources and what protections are in place to prevent damage from future spills, Yaggi added.
Part of the evidence presented in the course of the lawsuit will come from satellite images, research by SkyTruth and aerial observations by SouthWings.
The Waterkeeper Alliance and its local Waterkeeper organizations say the spill started after an undersea landslide in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. An offshore platform and 28 wells were damaged, and since then, Taylor has yet to stop the daily flow of oil from the site.
“The Taylor Oil spill is emblematic of a broken system, where oil production is prioritized over concerns for human health and the environment,” said Justin Bloom, Eastern Regional Director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Nearly two years after the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill, none of the comprehensive reforms recommended by the National Oil Spill Commission have been enacted and Congress has yet to pass a single law to better protect workers, the environment or coastal communities.”
President Obama has called for a massive push to open up another 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil exploration and extraction. He also seeks to open up pristine Arctic waters to drilling, but oil exploration and extraction technology has dramatically outpaced the development of safety and recovery technology, while the regulatory regime appears incapable of controlling what critics call a runaway industry.
A report released this week by the Gulf Monitoring Consortium, a partnership between Waterkeeper Alliance, SkyTruth, and SouthWings, investigates several spills in the Gulf (including the Taylor Spill) and highlights numerous deficiencies in the reporting and response process.
A copy of the report can be found here: http://waterkeeper.org/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/24733
“Imagine an incident like the Taylor Spill in a deepwater, high-pressure environment, that could not be contained in 7 years,” said Paul Orr, the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, “Do we really want to race to the bottom without a lifeline when it looks like big oil is still at the helm?”
Filed under: BP Gulf oil spill, energy, Environment, oil drilling, Summit County news, water Tagged: | Deepwater horizon oil spill, Environment, Gulf Coast oil pollution, Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana, Oil spill, SkyTruth, Taylor Energy LLC, Waterkeepers Alliance