Recent headlines and GRN’s work has underscored that the oil industry continues to abuse the Gulf, and our nation’s energy sacrifice zone shows the true cost of our collective oil addiction.First, the back story: Recent research shows clearly that the act of removing oil and gas deposits from beneath Louisiana’s marsh fueled catastrophic subsidence, playing a huge role in turning nearly 2,000 square miles of coastal wetlands into open water since 1932. Add in the impacts of 10,000 miles of canals that have been dredged by and for the oil industry, and the role of levees and jetties which keep the Mississippi River from ever rebuilding those wetlands with dirt and fresh water, and Louisiana is faced with an unparalleled coastal wetlands crisis.The loss of these wetlands has left coastal communities (including New Orleans) far more vulnerable to the impacts of storms and hurricanes. The natural, coastal lines of defense such as barrier islands, marsh, and cypress swamps amount to incredibly effective storm protection, knocking down as much as a foot of storm surge for every mile of intact ecosystem the surge must travel across. Basically, if Hurricane Katrina had encountered a robust coastal system, the events of 6 years ago would have been far less tragic and damaging.Currently, the vast majority of oil production has moved offshore, leaving behind weakened, shredded wetlands. Of course the pipelines still travel through the marsh, linking offshore production with onshore refineries and tank farms, so as the wetlands further erode, more and more of the oil industry’s infrastructure is exposed to open-water conditions. This means more boat and barge accidents, more busted pipelines, and more oil spills. Oddly, it hasn’t meant more oil spill fines, as Bloomberg News has reported that the state of Louisiana levies fines in fewer than one in 100 spills, and the Coast Guard rarely has the resources to truly investigate and hold accountable those contributing to off-shore spills.So the spills continue. Here are some of our recent shots of a leak at a Taylor Energy well, which has been leaking since 2004’s HURRICANE IVAN, as well as a couple other spills. All these were found on our most recent monitoring flight with our partner Southwings. Also just in the news was a 13,000 gallon release of oil and drilling fluid by a Transocean operated rig working for Shell. The Coast Guard knows about all these releases. Will they hold anyone accountable? Probably not.And into this mess, wades Mississippi’s outgoing Governor, Haley Barbour, who thinks drilling off the Mississippi Coast would be a great idea. Of course, he also said 2010’s BP drilling disaster was more a media and image problem for his state as opposed to an actual environmental problem. Here we go again. Aaron Viles is GRN’s Deputy Director. For shorter musings, you can follow him on Twitter @GulfAaron.