Taylor Energy sued for allegedly allowing oil wells to spill into Gulf

Michelle Keahey Feb. 29, 2012, 12:23pm

NEW ORLEANS - An environmental alliance group has filed a lawsuit against Taylor Energy Co. for failing to stop one or more of its oil wells from discharging into the Gulf of Mexico.

Claiming violations of the Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Atchafalaya Basinkeeper, Galveston Baykeeper, Louisiana Bayoukeeper, Louisiana Environmental Action Network, Paul Orr (in his capacity as the lower Mississippi Riverkeeper), and Waterkeeper Alliance filed suit against Taylor Energy Co. on Feb. 2 in federal court in New Orleans.

According to the lawsuit, an underground mudslide began around September 2004 which destroyed a Taylor drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico and buried up to 28 wells. The wells are located approximately 11 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

The event resulted in a continuous oil spill, which has been allegedly ongoing for seven years. The plaintiffs estimate that the daily spill volume ranges to more than 4,000 gallons of oil.

The Waterkeepers' members state that the leaking oil will reduce the quality of their lives by introducing harmful pollination, reducing the beauty of their communities and will impair or threaten their members' activities in the Gulf of Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Coast Guard have issued orders to Taylor with regard to the oil spill, but the response of Taylor is unknown.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare that Taylor is in violation of the Clean Water Act, a declaration that the well may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment, and for an injunction restraining Taylor from leaking, discharging or disposing of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The plaintiffs are also asking the Court to order Taylor to pay to the U.S. Treasury $37,500 per day until the company shuts down the leaking wells, plus an award of other civil penalties and attorney's fees.

The environmental groups are represented by Kevin Blodgett, Jonathan Cardosi, Machelle Lee Hall and Adam Babich of Tulane Environmental Law Clinic in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:12-cv-00337

More News