Hilcorp Oils Critical Marshes with their Sloppy Practices

 

Wednesday morning, Gulf Restoration Network and our partners at Waltzer Wiygul & Garside LLC and Vanishing Earth flew over coastal Louisiana, to document the Hilcorp Energy pipeline spill in Barataria Bay. Yesterday, we took a boat and surveyed the sheens and slicks, grasses and birds at water level.

The crude oil leak, which was reported wednesday at 8 square miles, originated in an older pipeline canal and has smothered shoreline marshes at the root, like a heavy coating of poorly applied mascara. Local storms have dispersed sheens that spread out into Barataria Bay; local marshes remain thoroughly gooped. Of the ~8,000 spills in the Gulf with a known volume over the last 5 years, this spill is larger than 90 percent of them.

Barataria Bay was one of the most heavily oiled areas during the BP disaster. The impacts of that disaster broke every link in the food web--scientists speculate that the dolphin population will not recover for generations.


Hilcorp has been eroding marshes across Louisiana with poor propwashing practices and illegal dredging, often in old oilfields the Restoration program plans to restore. No coincidence, then, that the company was ignorant enough of the pipeline on its site to break it. Although we continually hear how this pipeline was 'abandoned', it's not as though Hilcorp didn't know what they were getting into by acting the fool in Louisiana's old oilfields. What's even more frustrating is that this area of marshland is also in the Master Plan as a crucial wetland for sheltering coastal communities from storms. The damage from the Hilcorp spill will lead to the death of some of these marshes - the same marshes that 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 our flyover, there were visible oil sheens over oyster leases, oiled marshes and birds trying to land in oiled areas.

Barataria Bay is still in recovery from the BP oil disaster, and now Hilcorp is once again oiling these marshes and harming our fish and dolphins. 

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 more than time for them to pay their fair share to fix the coast. We anticipate that Hilcorp will have to conduct a NRDA, a study of the deaths this spill has caused--including health impacts to our imperiled Barataria Bay Dolphin populations.

Gulf Restoration Network is submitting a report of our findings to state and federal agencies. Click here for more photos from the flight and from the boat. Click here for video.

Scott Eustis is GRN's Coastal Wetland Specialist

 

 

 

 

 

Recent Posts

Since fish species are not generally associated with one single species of coral but are...
Written by Hannah Leis
Friday, 21 July 2017
Hexacorals are the second subclass that contains corals (and if you missed reading about octocorals,...
Written by Hannah Leis
Thursday, 20 July 2017
It’s summertime, and while many Gulf residents are retreating to cooler climes or just doing...
Written by Raleigh Hoke
Wednesday, 19 July 2017
This second post (if you missed the first one it can be found here )...
Written by Hannah Leis
Thursday, 13 July 2017
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell capped off Trump’s “Energy Week” by announcing a new energy...
Written by Natasha Noordhoff
Monday, 10 July 2017
Last August's flood broke the hearts and homes of many in the Baton Rouge area...
Written by Scott Eustis
Monday, 03 July 2017
The fight to stop the Bayou Bridge pipeline continues. Most recently, GRN and a host...
Written by Natasha Noordhoff
Monday, 03 July 2017

Latest Actions

SHARE THIS PAGE