A 32-mile-long oil slick stretches in the Gulf of Mexico east from the former site of Taylor Energy's oil platform, which was 12 miles south of the mouth of the Mississippi River, the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported Monday.
The platform, which towered 550 feet above 28 oil and gas wells drilled in water 479 feet deep, was destroyed by a landslide which caused pressure on the gulf floor during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Oil has been spotted at the site, although U.S. Coast Guard and Taylor Energy officials have insisted a multimillion-dollar effort to plug the wells and remove the wreckage have slowed the pollution to a trickle.
The Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Waterkeepers Alliance and the Appalachiola Waterkeeper are proceeding with a federal lawsuit that attempts to enforce provisions of the Clean Water Act against Taylor Energy, the newspaper said.
Daily aerial inspections by Taylor Energy typically report an oil sheen on the water, but its June 18 report said the sheen was larger than normal, 10.1 miles long and 200 feet wide. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite view that day showed the oil slick to be 30.5 miles long and 2.5 miles wide.
Skytruth, an environmental group, said in a report last year its estimate of oil slicks "suggests the leakage rate is possibly in the range of 100-400 gallons per day."
"Here we have a domestic energy company that has crude oil leaking continuously from their wells for nine years, and with no apparent consequences from the government," said Marylee Orr, executive director of the Louisiana Environmental Network. "Oil and gas has caused a tremendous amount of damage to Louisiana, particularly coastal Louisiana, and they face virtually no consequences for it."