Oil Still Free Flowing Into The Gulf

Oil Still Free Flowing Into The GulfYou may recall reading a blog post from July 1st where I talk about a leak that has been ongoing on the Gulf since 2004. Well, oil is STILL leaking from the site of the Taylor Energy platform (Platform 23051) that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The ongoing leak gained national attention during the BP disaster after the government released detailed satellite images of the Gulf’s surface. Skytruth, a watchdog group that uses satellite images to monitor environmental problems, first called attention to the ongoing spill. You may also recall reading news reports calling attention to the leak from the Press-Register, NPR, and others. I also have had the priviledge to fly on several fligths with On Wings of Care to document the leak from the air.So, with all of this attention and scrutiny why is seemingly nothing being done, and why is this leak still ongoing? Take a look at these photos I took a few days ago while on a boat on a sampling trip with the National Wildlife Federation. On this day, once again, there were no skimmers, no boats, no nothing. All that we could see was a buoy (presumably marking the downed platform) and a slick that stretches for miles. We were able to get right in the middle of the slick so sampling was possible. Check out some of the photos here:As promised, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to hopefully get some of these questions answered: Why is it still leaking? Can it be stopped? Is there a timeline on stopping it? Has Taylor energy been fined for violating the Clean Water Act? If not, why not? In the response that I received from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) they notified me that penalties enforced against companies for violations occurring in the Gulf can be found on their website. Well, no kidding. There are none regarding this leak which is one of the reasons why I had to file the FOIA in the first place. Also in their response, BOEMRE notified me that if I wanted all of the documents that I requested that they would charge GRN a pretty significant fee which they are unwilling to waive, despite our non-profit status. They suggested either narrowing my request or paying the fee. So, we are appealing and, hopefully, will prevail with the fee waiver, receive the documents, and begin to scrutinize the information to find out just what the heck is going on.With this leak and others like it continuing to foul our Gulf, and very little action by the Coast Guard, BOEMRE, or any other entity to prevent them (much less report them or penalize companies for violations), it is high time for the establishment of a Regional Citizens’s Advisory Council. So, please take action today by clicking here to send Congress and the White House a message demanding an RCAC and a healthy Gulf.Jonathan Henderson is the Coastal Resiliency Organizer for GRN.

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