Ten miles out within the Gulf of Mexico, off the tip of Louisiana, the fumes turn out to be overwhelming. “See the way it’s all rainbow sheen there? So that’s oil,” says Ian MacDonald, who’s guiding us in a tiny fishing boat that is being tossed around by 6-foot waves. MacDonald is a scientist at Florida State University the place he researches oil spills. This one will not be a black, sticky slick, but it surely stretches on for miles. And right here, the place the murky Mississippi River dumps into the Gulf, it has been leaking for greater than 14 years.
The Coast Guard has begun merely to intervene to try to clear up this spill. But it undoubtedly faces challenges. And MacDonald sees the spill as a warning for regulators, just because the Trump administration pushes to increase offshore oil drilling within the Atlantic. The spill started in 2004 when Hurricane Ivan toppled an oil rig into the Gulf. The rig was owned by Taylor Vitality, a New Orleans-based mostly firm, which managed to plug a few of the 25 damaged pipes; however, the leak continued.
The federal government is finding out the impression on marine life; however, even they cannot determine precisely how a lot of oil is leaking. Neither can the corporate. The Division of the Inside and the Coast Guard have been working with the corporate to attempt to cease the leak for years, but it undoubtedly poses a severe engineering problem. The wells have been buried beneath heaps of feet of mud in an underwater mudslide, that are widespread within the space, the place the mouth of the Mississippi has constructed up thousands of feet of silt on the underside of the ocean floor.
Taylor Power has spent about $500 million to attempt to cease the spill, and it is paying for pilots to fly over and monitor it. The corporate has reported lower than a barrel of oil a day on the floor; however, estimates range broadly.