As oil slick appears to grow larger, company violates terms of settlement agreement
United States District Judge Susie Morgan ruled on Thursday September 22, 2016 that Taylor Energy was not correctly following the process required by the September 2015 settlement agreement with Waterkeeper Alliance, Apalachicola Riverkeeper and Louisiana Environmental Action Network, represented by the Tulane Environmental Law Clinic. The agreement resulted from a three-year lawsuit that sought to lift the veil of secrecy on the oil leak’s extent and potential far-reaching impact on the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystem.
On August 5, 2016, the groups discovered that Taylor Energy had secretly objected to the release of certain documents related to the leak, and in recent months, SkyTruth, a group that uses satellite imaging to track issues, has been reporting that the oil slick from the Taylor Energy leak appears to be growing larger, reaching over 40 miles in June, the longest slick recorded at the site since SkyTruth began tracking it in 2010.
Following is a statement from Larissa Liebmann, staff attorney for the Clean and Safe Energy Campaign at Waterkeeper Alliance:
“Judge Morgan agreed with our plain-language reading of the settlement agreement and has ordered the parties to work on a clarifying addendum to facilitate transparency by Taylor Energy. This will ensure that Taylor Energy cannot attempt to avoid third-party review of documents it wishes to keep from the public under the guise of not understanding the terms of our agreement. Especially in light of reports by SkyTruth that the oil slick at Taylor Energy’s site appears to be growing larger, and the silence from the federal government on what should be done, it is imperative that the public has access to information on this ongoing disaster. ”