This is the worst oil disaster you’ve never heard of | Janis Searles Jones and Philippe Cousteau | Opinion | The Guardian

Taylor Energy oil spill<br>FILE - This March 31, 2015, file photo shows an oil sheen drifting from the site of the former Taylor Energy oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. A federal lawsuit that Taylor Energy Co. filed Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018, in New Orleans asks the court to throw out Coast Guard Capt. Kristi Luttrell’s Oct. 23 administrative order. The suit claims the Coast Guard’s actions ignored “well-verified scientific conclusions” and were taken in response to “adverse publicity.”(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Eight years ago, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico devastated communities, wildlife and livelihoods all along the Gulf coast. While dying dolphins and oil-soaked marsh grass dominated the headlines, the human cost was catastrophic. Now, it appears that a new disaster is slowly unfolding that may soon eclipse that horrific event to become the worst environmental disaster in US history.

In 2004, Hurricane Ivan triggered an undersea mudslide that sank an oil platform owned by Taylor Energy. Since then, between 300 and 700 barrels of oil have been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico every day. Let’s put that into perspective. The Deepwater Horizon disaster spilled almost 200m gallons of oil into the Gulf. To date, the Taylor spill has released as much as 140m gallons of oil into the Gulf.

What is even more shocking is that, 14 years since the Taylor oil platform sank, federal officials estimate the uncapped wells could continue polluting the Gulf for decades, perhaps even a century. It is a nightmare scenario that should terrify anyone who cares about the health of the wildlife and people who live along the Gulf coast.

Disasters such as Deepwater Horizon and the 14-year Taylor Energy spill offer vivid demonstrations of the environmental and economic risks of offshore drilling. If the next draft proposal continues to ignore the concerns of coastal communities, the Trump administration will have once again shown that it is prioritizing the profits of the oil and gas industry over all else.

As America continues to struggle with the after-effects of the BP oil spill and begins to wake up to the reality of the Taylor oil spill, we cannot allow the Trump administration to sow the seeds of yet another disaster that will devastate the health of our environment and the livelihoods of countless hard-working American families.

This is the worst oil disaster you’ve never heard of | Janis Searles Jones and Philippe Cousteau | Opinion | The Guardian