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  • A 14-year chronic, continuous oil spill remains active from a damaged Taylor Energy platform in the Gulf of Mexico.

    A 14-year chronic, continuous oil spill remains active from a damaged Taylor Energy platform in the Gulf of Mexico. | Photo: @dtdchange

Published 16 March 2019

Taylor has filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse a federal court order which authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard and a contractor to work on the company's site while offering no alternative to address the infinite oil spill.

Earthjustice has mounted a challenge against a lawsuit filed by Taylor Energy to block the United States Coast Guard from taking over containment efforts of an oil spill on behalf of Healthy Gulf (previously known as the Gulf Restoration Network). 


75 Tons of Oil Spill So Far, UNESCO Heritage Site Under Threat

Since Hurricane Ivan severely damaged Taylor Energy's oil wells in 2004, the platform has been spilling thousands of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico daily, making it the longest oil spill in the country's history. Taylor Energy is depending on the lawsuit the company filed which seeks to reverse the federal court order that gave the go-ahead to the Coast Guard to work on the site.

New research indicates that Taylor Energy oil spill may surpass that of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, by an estimated margin ranging from 2,100 to 71,400 gallons daily. A marine scientist at the University of South Florida, Shaojie Sun, presented the findings, last month, at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Conference in New Orleans. 

Taylor has denounced the new research, saying it is "based on generalities." 

Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of Healthy Gulf says Taylor "blocking efforts to contain an oil spill that has continuously leaked in the Gulf for 14 years” is "unacceptable."

If the Taylor spill veers towards the higher end of the estimate (71,400 gallons), the spill would top BP's disaster by a huge margin of about 241 million gallons. The estimate would double that of the Coast Guard's estimated highest potential rate when Taylor was first ordered to allow the containment of the ongoing dumping, in October 2018.

Before the current directive and Taylor's failure to comply, neither the company nor the federal government addressed a containment protocol for at least four years since the spill. Earthjustice attorney Chris Eaton stresses that "the law requires the federal government to do what is necessary to prevent oil spills from marring our coasts, killing wildlife and damaging Gulf fisheries.”

Before the Sun's reports, most research at the site was carried out by Taylor, all of which concluded that the environmental effects of the spill were negligible.

While the Coast Guard has teamed with an external contractor to attempt the remediation process, oil spill expert and oceanographer at Florida State University, Ian MacDonald remarked that "what's happening now is the Coast Guard and the government is saying what a minute, we're going to take charge because we think that you're underestimating the amount of oil.

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