Taylor Energy Company LLC issued the following statement today:
For years the federal government, led by the Coast Guard, has refused to share with Taylor Energy Company, or make public, all relevant scientific data which is critical to determining an environmentally responsible path forward in connection with the MC-20 matter.
At the same time, the Coast Guard has refused to accept into the formal MC-20 Unified Command Response record information and data that would provide a more accurate assessment of the condition of the MC-20 site and address the fatal flaws in certain studies that the Government has promoted, which have led to erroneous conclusions about the source of oil emanating from the site.
Without an accurate and verifiable understanding of the source of the oil, taking further action at the site could have an unintended consequence of causing a severe release of oil and considerable environmental damage. The risk to the environment far outweighs potential theoretical benefits.
The Government’s conduct in this matter is troubling for several reasons:
First, the Coast Guard’s intransigence is an obstacle to reaching a consensus agreement on the underlying source of the continued oil release and addressing it in an environmentally responsible manner. Second, the Government’s management of this matter may be increasing the environmental risk to the region if it relies on junk science at the expense of sound, peer reviewed science. Finally, the Coast Guard’s conduct in this matter and its refusal to share this data with a designated Responsible Party is unprecedented and contrary to the established protocols for oil spill response. It is also contrary to the public interest.
Specifically, the Coast Guard has:
- Refused to accept into the MC20 Unified Command Response record a July 2019 analysis by Dr. Richard Camilli, “Analysis of MC20 Seafloor Hydrocarbon Plume Flow Dynamics and Thermohaline Signatures” that addresses serious flaws in a 2019 study sponsored by NOAA which concludes that the source of the continued oil release is active wells. The analysis by Dr. Camilli shows that the NOAA report conclusions are without foundation because they ignore the key markers that would exist if the oil was emanating from an active well (including temperature and salinity anomalies in the water on the seabed and associated natural gas) are not present at the MC-20 site.
- Failed to correct inaccurate statements in the media and in the official record suggesting the surface sheen has been reduced to barely visible.
- Ignored or denied multiple Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from Taylor Energy Company for key data relevant to the MC20 Response.
This obstinance on the part of the Coast Guard includes a circular runaround where Taylor Energy is told by various agencies that they cannot release critical information, and that only the Coast Guard can authorize such release. But when Taylor Energy then seeks this information from the Coast Guard, it is told to go back to the originating agencies.
Of the 16 FOIA requests submitted to various federal agencies since January 2019, only one FOIA response has been deemed “complete” by the responding agency. In regard to the multiple FOIA requests to Coast Guard, no information has been provided to date.
Taylor Energy remains committed to its role as the Responsible Party and continues to advocate for response that is devoid of political pressures and rather that is grounded in verifiable peer reviewed sound science that prioritizes the well-being of the environment.