Taylor Energy Company today issued the following statement responding to the press release issued by the U.S. Coast Guard regarding containment activities at the MC-20 site in the Gulf of Mexico:
“This week, the Coast Guard, in concert with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued a self-congratulatory press release with misrepresentations, inaccuracies, and scientifically obsolete claims.
“With the order to install the containment system, the Coast Guard chose to toss aside a decade’s worth of verified science and consensus agreement for the expediency of politics and, instead, relied on now-debunked junk science. In the process it circumvented established norms and trampled Taylor Energy’s rights to due process. As it has for well over a year, the Coast Guard continues to refuse to share data to verify its claims.
“Taylor Energy has long maintained that government press releases are no substitute for legitimate, verifiable science; particularly in relation to policy-making and environmental protection. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard seems to believe otherwise.
“Surprisingly, in its recent press release, the Coast Guard continues to allude to studies which have been discredited. One study made wildly inaccurate claims of almost 30,000 gallons of oil per day leaking at the site. Even a lead scientist working on behalf of the government, during the 2020 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference, said “[we] have to admit that we were wrong in over estimating.”
“A second study cited was prepared for NOAA and offered similarly inaccurate estimates of leaking oil by relying on a ‘bubblometer’ that purported to show oil-laden gas bubbles rising from the sea floor. However, when that design was replicated in an oil-free pool, similar results were shown. What appeared to be oil in the bottom of each gas bubble was in actuality a reflection of the darkness below the bubbles. During the replication, it was shown that changing the color beneath the bubblometer to blue and red also changed the color of the bubbles to blue and red, too.
“Additionally, this NOAA study is the alleged source of a wholly inaccurate claim which has, unfortunately, been repeated multiple times in media reports. The study wrongly asserts that Taylor Energy has estimated that less than three gallons of oil per day is emanating from the seafloor at the MC-20 site. For the record, Taylor Energy has never made any such claim or representation. The NOAA study inaccurately represents a 2018 theoretical model prepared for the Unified Command (not Taylor Energy, as NOAA wrongly asserts) to misrepresent Taylor Energy’s position on the volume of oil. The 2018 theoretical model was a tabletop exercise to test a hypothesis raised by one of the Incident Commanders. It simply examined the measured chemical variability of all sheen samples and then applied an accepted statistical analysis to match the physical sheen samples and predict the range of potential oil volume that might be released in the case of a hypothetical active well release. As Taylor Energy has consistently stated, there is no evidence of an actively leaking well. Yet, federal agencies continue to make this misleading statement while actually citing data (acquired by NOAA/BSEE) that contradicts their position.
“A central purpose of the Coast Guard’s news release is to pat itself on the back on the one-year anniversary of the installation of a containment system at the MC-20 site.
“While reports about containment are promising, unfortunately, the Coast Guard has refused to present any science to verify and substantiate its claims about how much oil is being collected. The questions remains, ‘why?’
“It is worth noting that not only has the containment system not eliminated the surface sheen on the ocean’s surface, but there have been many occasions when the estimated overflight volume of the sheen has been multiples larger than the historic 30-day overflight volume average that existed prior to the installation of the containment system. For instance, on March 3 the sheen volume was estimated at 1176 gallons and as recently as May 1 it was estimated at 158 gallons.
“To paraphrase President Ronald Reagan, it is difficult to trust if one cannot verify. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard has refused Taylor Energy’s multiple requests for verifiable data and analysis; nor has it provided any explanation for its campaign of concealment.
“Taylor Energy has and will continue to insist that any and all decisions regarding MC-20 must be driven exclusively by verifiable legitimate science, and all decisions must be made with full transparency. The wellbeing of the environment is at stake.”