Oil spill from 2004 still leaking oil into the Gulf of Mexico

Mississippi Delta oil slick on May 2010The Taylor oil spill started in 2004 following Hurricane Ivan. An oil platform, Mississippi Canyon-20, and pipeline belonging to now-defunct Taylor Energy was damaged and sank on Sept. 15, 2004, following a mudslide caused by the hurricane.

The oil leak, located about 12 miles off the Louisiana coast and seven miles north of the Deepwater Horizon site, went relatively unnoticed by news outlets.

In 2010, during the Deepwater Horizon spill, local activists performed flyovers of the area to monitor the extent of that spill. In the process, however, they noticed a shadow of another slick that didn't match the main spill.

Since disclosing the leak to the National Response Center, Taylor maintained the stance that the leak was minor. Surveys conducts by organizations like SkyTruth and investigations by the Associated Press countered these claims, and in 2015, the U.S. Coast Guard released a leak estimate that, according to Greenpeace, was about 20 times larger than what Taylor Energy has reported in court filings.

Taylor Energy was not allowed to drill or bore through the mudslide, however, due to concerns about exacerbating the spill. The company has plugged about a third of the 21 wells and erected a shield of some kind that was supposed to prevent the oil from leaking.

SkyTruth, using data given to the Coast Guard by Taylor Energy, estimates that from 2004 to 2017, between 855,421 and 3,991,963 gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf. John Amos, founder of SkyTruth, told CNN that this estimate was almost certainly too low as it relied on data supplied by Taylor Energy.

A Department of Justice report, released in mid-September, relied on satellite data instead of Taylor Energy-supplied numbers. This report suggests that about 250 to 700 barrels a day (that's roughly 3.8 million gallons to 10 million gallons a year), are leaking into the ocean.

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Source: Mother Nature Network

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