Quantcast

Waterkeeper Alliance Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Coast Guard Over Ongoing Oil Spill

Energy

Waterkeeper Alliance

Over hundreds of gallons of oil continue leaking everyday from the Taylor Energy site, where an offshore platform and 28 oil wells owned by Taylor Energy were damaged by a seafloor mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

On March 4, Waterkeeper Alliance, in collaboration with several Gulf of Mexico Waterkeeper organizations, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Coast Guard over unfulfilled requests for public records related to the ongoing Taylor Energy oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The FOIA lawsuit comes more than a year after Waterkeeper Alliance, in conjunction with several Gulf of Mexico Waterkeeper organizations, filed a lawsuit in the Eastern District Court of Louisiana against Taylor Energy alleging multiple violations of environmental laws. Over hundreds of gallons of oil continue leaking everyday from the Taylor Energy site, where an offshore platform and 28 oil wells owned by Taylor Energy were damaged by a seafloor mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The lawsuit has faced significant delay, as the court will not allow discovery to begin before ruling on Taylor's motion to dismiss the case, which has been before the court for more than seven months.
 
The lawsuit challenges the U.S. Coast Guard’s denial of two FOIA requests, arguing that Gulf Coast residents and the broader American public have a stake in oil spills and leaks in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the Coast Guard’s handling of those leaks. Waterkeeper Alliance is suing because the Coast Guard has yet to provide responsive documents to the Plaintiffs or the public about the cause of the leak, the volume of oil being leaked, what is being done to stop the leak, when the leak will be stopped, and other relevant and important information contained in public records.

“We filed this suit to stop the spill and lift the veil of secrecy surrounding Taylor Oil’s eight-year long response and recovery operation,” explained Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Neither the government nor Taylor will answer basic questions related to the spill response, citing privacy concerns.”

The public deserves to know how this spill happened and why it continues. Coastal communities should understand the risks involved in developing off-shore oil resources and what protections are in place to prevent damage from future spills.

“The Taylor Oil spill is emblematic of a broken system, where oil production is prioritized over concerns for human health and the environment,” said Paul Orr, the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper. “Nearly three years after the Deepwater Horizon Spill, none of the comprehensive reforms recommended by the National Oil Spill Commission have been enacted and Congress has yet to pass a single law to better protect workers, the environment or coastal communities.”  

A copy of the complaint is available upon request.

Joining Waterkeeper Alliance in the lawsuit are: Atchfalaya Basinkeeper, Baton Rouge, LA; Galveston Baykeeper, Galveston, TX; Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Baton Rouge, LA; Louisiana Bayoukeeper, Barataria, LA; and Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Baton Rouge, LA. Plaintiffs are represented by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic.

Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.

——–

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A verdant and productive urban garden in Havana. Susanne Bollinger / Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Brown

When countries run short of food, they need to find solutions fast, and one answer can be urban farming.

Read More Show Less
Trevor Noah appears on set during a taping of "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" in New York on Nov. 26, 2018. The Daily Show With Trevor Noah / YouTube screenshot

By Lakshmi Magon

This year, three studies showed that humor is useful for engaging the public about climate change. The studies, published in The Journal of Science Communication, Comedy Studies and Science Communication, added to the growing wave of scientists, entertainers and politicians who agree.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
rhodesj / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cities around the country are considering following the lead of Berkeley, California, which became the first city to ban the installation of natural gas lines in new homes this summer.

Read More Show Less
Rebecca Burgess came up with the idea of a fibersheds project to develop an eco-friendly, locally sourced wardrobe. Nicolás Boullosa / CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

If I were to open my refrigerator, the origins of most of the food wouldn't be too much of a mystery — the milk, cheese and produce all come from relatively nearby farms. I can tell from the labels on other packaged goods if they're fair trade, non-GMO or organic.

Read More Show Less
A television crew reports on Hurricane Dorian while waves crash against the Banana River sea wall. Paul Hennessy / SOPA Images / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

Some good news, for a change, about climate change: When hundreds of newsrooms focus their attention on the climate crisis, all at the same time, the public conversation about the problem gets better: more prominent, more informative, more urgent.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) met with Bill Gates on Nov. 7 to discuss climate change and ways to address the challenge. Senator Chris Coons

The U.S. Senate's bipartisan climate caucus started with just two members, a Republican from Indiana and a Democrat from Delaware. Now it's up to eight members after two Democrats, one Independent and three more Republicans joined the caucus last week, as The Hill reported.

Read More Show Less
EPA scientists survey aquatic life in Newport, Oregon. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to significantly limit the use of science in agency rulemaking around public health, the The New York Times reports.

Read More Show Less
A timelapse video shows synthetic material and baby fish collected from a plankton sample from a surface slick taken off Hawaii's coast. Honolulu Star-Advertiser / YouTube screenshot

A team of researchers led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration didn't intend to study plastic pollution when they towed a tiny mesh net through the waters off Hawaii's West Coast. Instead, they wanted to learn more about the habits of larval fish.

Read More Show Less