NEW ORLEANS — On March 27, NELC attorney Heather Govern pitched in to help a coalition of environmental groups who are trying to put a stop to a seemingly never-ending spill off the coast of Louisiana that has been leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico for more than ten years. In a deposition, Govern questioned the methodology and conclusions of a Boston-area scientist hired to serve as an expert witness by the defendant, Taylor Energy Company, LLC.
The spill began after a seafloor mudslide damaged 28 oil wells and an offshore drilling platform in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Since then, crude oil has been continuously leaking from a submerged site owned by Taylor Energy Company LLC.
In the absence of any effective response by the company or by government watchdogs, the Atchafalaya Basin-keeper, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, Waterkeeper Alliance, and other Gulf Coast Waterkeeper organizations filed a lawsuit against Taylor Energy for violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
The lawsuit, in addition to highlighting the secrecy surrounding Taylor Energy’s response to this multi-year spill, aims to prevent further environmental damage and harm to human health.
“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 River Keeper.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Louisiana in February 2012, after the Coast Guard denied two Freedom of Information Act requests seeking basic information about the cause of the leak, the amount of oil spilled, and efforts to stop it.