The U.S. Coast Guard reported on Tuesday that approximately 1.1 million gallons of oil may have been released into the Gulf of Mexico from a pipeline system located off the southeast coast of Louisiana.
Officials stated during a Coast Guard press briefing that the pipeline in question has been closed, but they are currently working to pinpoint the precise site and reason for the spill. As of now, no oil has made it to shore, but its impact on local wildlife is still under examination. According to a representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife agency, two pelicans with oil on their feathers were spotted near the Louisiana coast on Saturday, but they seemed to be functioning normally and capable of flight.
The release of oil was detected during strong winds in the Gulf, which aided in the natural evaporation and scattering of some of the oil. Despite this, there were still reports of visible slicks and areas of oil, according to Capt. Kelly Denning, commander of the Coast Guard’s New Orleans sector.
The Coast Guard reported that oil was found near a pipeline owned by Main Pass Oil Company, a branch of Third Coast Infrastructure LLC based in Houston. The company did not promptly reply to a request for comment on Tuesday morning. A section of the 67-mile pipeline was closed last week while authorities investigated the source and reason for the spill.
On Friday, WWL-TV stated that according to pipeline gauges, approximately 1.1 million gallons of oil were lost. Subsequently, federal authorities verified that the total amount could potentially be as high as reported. However, this quantity is significantly lower than the 134 million gallons released during the 2010 BP oil spill which occurred after an explosion on an oil rig.
However, a conservation organization characterized the spill as “enormous.”
The Center for Biological Diversity stated in a news release that Gulf animals, including dolphins, birds, and rare whales, are once again facing threats from a spill-prone industry that prioritizes profits over all else.