Yesterday, Gulf Restoration Network and Southwings flew over coastal Louisiana, documenting the continuing Taylor oil leak 12 miles off the coast of Louisiana and various coastal restoration sites. The Taylor energy site has been leaking since Hurricane Ivan toppled the offshore platform in 2004. The sheen from Taylor extended over an area of about 5 miles by 600 feet wide.
For 12 years, Taylor Energy has polluted the Gulf without being held fully accountable for ongoing harm to Gulf waters and coastal communities, as well as to the dolphins, whales and fish who live there. The continuing Taylor spill is an extreme example of industry harm, but frequent spills and leaks are the norm. Time after time, we see the oil and gas industry unwilling or unable to respond to the destruction they cause in the Gulf.
In addition to frequent leaks in coastal Louisiana and the Gulf, scientific studies suggest that the oil and gas industry is responsible for 36% to 89% of Louisiana’s coastal land loss, much of which is related to the dredging of oil and gas canals.
The good news is that coastal restoration is beginning. On the flight, we saw several recently completed or underway restoration projects, many of which are being funded from BP disaster fines and penalties. However, BP fines will only get us so far. Ultimately, the wider oil and gas industry must pay to restore the damage they’ve done to our coast.
Raleigh Hoke is GRN's Campaign Director.