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14-year Gulf Oil Spill Could Be Worst in US History


October 24, 2018
Kristin Hugo / The Independent & National Geographic & Diane Hoskins / The Hill

Oil has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico for the last 14 years in what may soon become the worst oil spill in US history. In 2004, Hurricane Ivan disrupted an offshore drilling operation owned by Taylor Energy. Between 300 and 700 barrels leak into the Gulf each day. That's 12,600 to 29,400 gallons per day for 14 years, and it continues to this day, just 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana. Taylor Energy has argued that there's no evidence to prove any of the wells are leaking.

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/oil-spill-us-gulf-of-mexico-leak-worst-history-environment-hurricane-a8598291.html

14-year Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill
Could Be Worst in American History

In the face of increasing hurricane risks,
Trump plans to allow more offshore drilling

Kristin Hugo / The Independent



More drilling combined with more storms
is a predictable recipe for disaster.


NEW YORK (October 21, 2018) -- Oil has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico for the last 14 years in what may soon become the worst oil spill in US history.

In 2004, Hurricane Ivan disrupted an offshore drilling operation owned by Taylor Energy. Between 300 and 700 barrels leak into the Gulf each day. That's 12,600 to 29,400 gallons per day for 14 years, and it continues to this day, just 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

The apparently leaking wells are under 400 feet of water and 60 to 100 feet of mud. Taylor Energy has argued that there's no evidence to prove any of the wells are leaking.

* An independent analysis submitted by the Justice Department last month, showed that the spill was much larger than the one-to-55 barrels per day that the US Coast Guard National Response Center (NRC) said, having used data supplied by the oil company.

* To date, the biggest oil spill in the world was in 1991 in the Persian Gulf, with 380 to 520 million gallons of oil spilled. In the US, an oil spill in Kern County, California in 1910 and 1911 resulted in 378 million gallons spilled.

* The Post reports that the public was unaware of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico for years after it occurred, and the nonprofit legal group Earthjustice sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) earlier this ear for not producing a timely report about it. That case is pending.

It's unclear what toll the spill has taken, and will take, on the environment, marine life, people and economy nearby. However, scientists hoping to study the spill have had to wear respirator masks just to get close.

In 2015, environmental groups signed a settlement agreement with Taylor Energy. The settlement required Taylor energy to publicly disclose information about the leak, as required by law. They also had to pay for environmental research to address the impact of the oil slick.

Coupling the fact that there may be more opportunities for offshore drilling and worse hurricanes, we might face more, worse oil spills in the future. Currently, the Trump administration is considering opening nearly all US waters to offshore drilling. North Atlantic hurricanes become more frequent, more intense, and longer since the 1980's, according to the National Climate Assessment.

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disintegrated This Island
National Geographic



(April 14, 2015) -- Cat Island was once one of the four largest bird-nesting grounds in Louisiana. But the Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed the mangroves growing there, destroying the root system that held the island's sediment in place. Since 2010, the 5.5-acre island has been washing away into the Gulf of Mexico, and migratory birds find their home disappearing before their eyes.



Extreme Weather and Hurricanes
Do Not Mix with Offshore Drilling

Diane Hoskins, opinion contributor / The Hill

As hurricanes and tropical storms occur
with greater frequency and severity, offshore drilling
becomes even more dangerous. This is not a threat
we should bring to any new areas in the Atlantic, Arctic
and Pacific oceans, or the eastern Gulf of Mexico


WASHINGTON (October 3, 2017) – Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria are difficult reminders that people, property and infrastructure along our coast are highly vulnerable to catastrophic damage from increasingly extreme weather events. But what has not been discussed enough is how more extreme weather will make offshore oil development even riskier than it already is.

The Trump administration should be taking this into account as it considers plans to fast-track the expansion of offshore drilling and exploration.

After Hurricane Harvey, The Washington Post reported that ExxonMobil acknowledged that the storm damaged two of its refineries, releasing hazardous pollutants. Reuters reported "the US Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency are working with Texas state regulators to clean up oil and chemicals spilled from a dozen industrial facilities after flooding from Hurricane Harvey."

And that is just damage to land-based facilities. Impacts from Hurricanes Rita and Katrina together destroyed 115 offshore oil platforms in the Gulf and damaged 52 others.

Offshore drilling is inherently dirty and dangerous, as the world saw when BP's Deepwater Horizon exploded in 2010, killing 11 people and spewing 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

As hurricanes and tropical storms occur with greater frequency and severity, offshore drilling becomes even more dangerous. This is not a threat we should bring to any new areas in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans, or the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

As hurricanes and tropical storms occur with greater frequency and severity, offshore drilling becomes even more dangerous. This is not a threat we should bring to any new areas in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans, or the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

More drilling combined with more storms is a predictable recipe for disaster.

It is time to move the national discussion toward adopting clean energy, instead of shortsighted proposals that will turn our beach towns into oil towns. The extensive infrastructure required to pump, move and process oil would mean rigs, refineries, pipelines and pollution. Each storm would add another dimension of risk for coastal communities and the economies they support.

Given that 130 municipalities, 1,200 bipartisan elected officials and 41,000 coastal businesses relying on healthy oceans have already publicly opposed offshore drilling -- it is time for the oil and gas industry to see the writing on the wall. Expanded offshore drilling will never produce enough oil to offset the risk of its devastating consequences.

Recent storms are just another reminder of why the Trump administration should deny permits for seismic airgun blasting and halt any moves toward developing new offshore oil drilling.

Diane Hoskins is the campaign director at Oceana, an international ocean advocacy organization established in 2001 by The Pew Charitable Trusts, Oak Foundation, Marisla Foundation (formerly Homeland Foundation), and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of
The Hill.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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