Oil company commits third major spill within year
New Orleans, La. - On Tuesday, March 21, officials reported that Hilcorp Energy was responsible for a leaking wellhead on the lower Mississippi River. Reports estimate that 840 gallons of crude oil were spilled into the water.
This spill comes just 8 months after a Hilcorp Energy pipeline spilled 4,200 gallons of crude into Barataria Bay. Additionally, the company is actively involved in a suit alleging that it smothered oyster leases when attempting to deepen access channels. To avoid culpability for their damage to the marshes and oyster beds, Hilcorp has applied for an after-the-fact permit that would retroactively grant permission for the company to use their destructive methods.
“Hilcorp is a polluter with a pattern of coastal crimes,” said Scott Eustis of Gulf Restoration Network. “Even as Hilcorp continues to wreak havoc in the Gulf, Alaska and Pennsylvania, they’re applying for a retroactive permit for their illegal damage to marshes and oyster beds in Grand Ecaille.”
Since last summer, Hilcorp has been involved in three major oil spills in Lower Plaquemines Parish. These are some of the largest spills reported in the Gulf region. In addition to the major spills, since February 2017, Hilcorp has spilled over 50 gallons of oil and drilling waste into Terrebonne and Barataria Bays, according to 6 separate reports to the National Response Center.
Outside of the Gulf, a Hilcorp-owned natural gas pipeline in Alaska has been leaking between 225,000 and 325,000 cubic feet of gas per day since February 7.
“Hilcorp must pay for the damage they have done,” continued Eustis. “Louisiana must deny Hilcorp's permits until they show they can stop dumping oil into our water and wetlands."
For a link to Skytruth.org's interactive map of NRC reports, click here.
For a map of Hilcorp's coastal permits, and how they conflict with coastal restoration, click here.
For photos of Hilcorp's spill into Barataria Bay, in July 2016, a flickr album is available here and here.