Janis Searles Jones and Philippe Cousteau
When Hurricane Ivan sank an oil platform owned by Taylor Energy in 2004, it has spewed hundreds of barrels of oil per day. And it’s not stopped
Last modified on Sat 29 Dec 2018
‘Taylor spill has released as much as 140m gallons of oil into the Gulf.’ Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP
Eight years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico devastated communities, wildlife and livelihoods all along the Gulf coast. While dying dolphins and oil-soaked marsh grass dominated the headlines, the human cost was catastrophic. Now, it appears that a new disaster is slowly unfolding that may soon eclipse that horrific event to become the worst environmental disaster in US history.
In 2004, Hurricane Ivan triggered an undersea mudslide that sank an oil platform owned by Taylor Energy. Since then, between 300 and 700 barrels of oil have been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico every day. Let’s put that into perspective. The Deepwater Horizon disaster spilled almost 200m gallons of oil into the Gulf. To date, the Taylor spill has released as much as 140m gallons of oil into the Gulf.
What is even more shocking is that, 14 years since the Taylor oil platform sank, federal officials estimate the uncapped wells could continue polluting the Gulf for decades, perhaps even a century. It is a nightmare scenario that should terrify anyone who cares about the health of the wildlife and people who live along the Gulf coast.
Sign up to receive the latest US opinion pieces every weekday Meanwhile, the damage caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon leak remains a stark reminder of the havoc an oil spill can unleash on marine wildlife, coastal communities and local businesses that rely on a healthy ocean.
With these tragedies still fresh in our collective national consciousness, you would think no administration would pursue drastic expansion of risky offshore oil and gas development.
Unfortunately, you would be wrong.