The neverending Taylor Energy oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is just one example of how ill-prepared companies and the federal government are to address the disastrous impacts of offshore oil drilling. However, our government wants to keep rolling the dice and put even more areas of our ocean and coasts in harm’s way.
Please call your Members of Congress and tell them you are tired of the government gambling with our shared resources and ask them to put a stop to the expansion of offshore drilling.
Back in 2012, Waterkeeper Alliance, Apalachicola Riverkeeper, and Louisiana Environmental Action Network, represented by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic, brought a Clean Water Act lawsuit about a little-known oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico. An oil platform owned by Taylor Energy was toppled in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan and had been leaking oil for nearly a decade, yet the company and the federal government were trying their hardest to keep the public in the dark about it.
Our 2015 settlement agreement lifted the veil of secrecy from the ongoing leak, made it easier for the public to gain access to information about the leak, and required Taylor Energy to hold a public forum explaining what happened and why its efforts to stop the flow of oil had been unsuccessful. But we were not able to force the company to stop the leak—Taylor Energy argues that stopping the flow of oil without causing even greater harm is impossible and, in the 14 years that this environmental disaster has been ongoing, we have yet to hear about a real solution from either the company or the federal government.
Recently released reports indicate that up to 29,000 gallons of oil are spilling into the Gulf from the Taylor Energy site every day, and the leak could continue for another century if not addressed. Incredibly, before drilling even began at this location, both the federal government and the company were aware that there was a risk of catastrophic mudslides during hurricanes—which is exactly what ended up happening. Despite this knowledge, Taylor Energy now claims that the accident was an unforeseeable “act of God.”
The Taylor Energy situation shows the cold hard truth about offshore drilling— it is inherently dangerous and neither the companies nor the government can be trusted to do it responsibly. Every new offshore well could result in the next Deepwater Horizon spill or Taylor Energy leak. To make matters worse, climate change—ironically caused by burning fossil fuels like oil — is supercharging hurricanes, which in turn increases the likelihood of platforms being destroyed by extreme weather. Yet, the federal government is currently working to vastly expand the areas open to offshore drilling and has dramatically rolled back safety requirements put in place after the BP disaster at the request of industry.
What will it take for our elected officials to learn that offshore drilling is not worth the risk? Please call your Members of Congress today and make sure they understand these dangers and ask that they oppose any new offshore drilling. Here are some talking points to get you started: