New Orleans, LA – Today, Gulf Restoration Network, Waltzer Wiygul & Garside and Vanishing Earth flew over coastal Louisiana, documenting the Hilcorp Energy pipeline spill in Lake Grande Ecaille in northern Barataria Bay. The crude oil spill, which was reported yesterday as 8 square miles, has washed ashore into the marsh.
“The spill is smothering shoreline marshes,” said Scott Eustis, Coastal Wetland Specialist at Gulf Restoration Network. “Northern Barataria Bay is in the Master Plan as a crucial wetland for sheltering coastal communities from storms. The marshes oiled by this spill will die, but we need these wetlands to defend us from storms - Hilcorp is messing with our future.”
In addition to providing important storm protection for communities, Barataria Bay is also a center for recreational and commercial fishing and serves as essential fish and migratory bird habitat. During today’s flyover, there were visible oil sheens over oyster leases, oiled marshes and birds trying to land in oiled areas.
“Barataria Bay was one of the most heavily oiled areas during the BP disaster, and now Hilcorp is once again oiling our marshes and harming our fish and dolphins.” said Raleigh Hoke, Campaign Director with Gulf Restoration Network. “Time and time again, we see the oil and gas industry undermining restoration efforts and refusing to pay for the damage they have done. It’s time for them to pay their fair share to fix the coast.”
Gulf Restoration Network is submitting a report of our findings to Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office and Environmental Protection Agency. Click here for photos from the flight.
Gulf Restoration Network is a 22-year-old non-profit dedicated to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the health of the Gulf of Mexico.
Vanishing Earth is a New Orleans based environmental watchdog organization founded in 2015.
Waltzer Wiygul & Garside is a law firm with offices in the New Orleans area and Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The firm represents citizen, fishermen, and community groups in environmental matters.