Taylor Oil Slick      Photo: Couvillion Group

The largest oil spill in U.S. history, the fifteen-year “leak” from the Taylor Energy platform in the Gulf of Mexico, is finally getting cleaned up, The Washington Post reports. The government hired for $7 million a small marine construction company, run by Tommy Couvillion, a former fishing boat captain who is now an engineer, to contain the spill and recover some of the oil. which has turned out to be much more than Taylor Energy had let on.

Why This Matters:  The Coast Guard is the agency that must oversee the cleanup and it has been a long time coming.  They have trusted it to Couvillion, and many wondered whether they could handle the job, but so far it’s going better than anyone expected.  Couvillion’s company according to The Post “conceived and designed a containment system weighing more than 200 tons, built it in shops all over southern Louisiana and pieced it together with deep underwater” that has already “recovered about 63,000 gallons since March … virtually eliminating a rainbow-colored slick that has stretched as far as 21 miles.”  Couvillion maintains that “[w]hat Taylor Energy is doing is a black eye on the industry. It makes us look bad.” Truly everyone should be wondering why this took so long and why Taylor Energy was able to evade prosecution for this horrible spill until now.  This should never happen again.

Containing The Spill Was A Challenge.

Couvillion first assessed the problem — his crew sent a submersible robot 450 feet below the surface to view the source of the pollution through its eye — check out that video here.

Taylor Energy Is Fighting The Cleanup.

  • Hurricane Ivan destroyed seven oil platforms, damaged enormous pipelines and stopped more than $20 billion worth of production, according to The Post, and the Taylor Energy platform completely vanished in the storm.

  • Taylor Energy had filed several federal lawsuits over the years the leak was discovered around the time of the BP Oil spill, including a claim seeking to win back $432 million left in a trust fund to pay for the cleanup.

  • Taylor Energy argued that the government’s ultimate act to seize control of the spill site and hire Couvillion to clean it up violated the company’s right to due process.

To Go Deeper:  The Washington Post story is worth your time, and check out Skytruth’s web site for more on how their work helped to spur action.

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