By Sabrina Canfield, Courthouse News Service
NEW ORLEANS (CN) – An oil company whose leaky well could discharge oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the next century hasn’t tried hard enough to stop the leaks, the federal government said in court papers this week.
Taylor Energy Company sued the federal government in January saying the feds won’t return $400 million it set aside to stop the leak.
Government attorneys in response Tuesday asked the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to dismiss Taylor’s lawsuit under the pretext the company hasn’t done enough to fix its wells.
The leak, which is often visible from air as a miles-wide sheen across the Gulf, began in 2004 after an underwater mudslide created by Hurricane Ivan toppled a Taylor-owned platform and submerged 28 wells under sediment and mud measuring 100 feet.
Taylor says nothing can be done about the trails of oil and regulators say if nothing is done the oil could go on streaming into the Gulf for another hundred years or more.
Taylor’s lawsuit says the government hasn’t made good on a 2008 agreement in which Taylor placed $666 million in a trust to pay for leak response services. The company says $432 million remains to be returned.
Taylor argued in its lawsuit that a 2009 report from federal regulators said removing contaminated soil from its well sites would cause more environmental harm than good, and thus the oil company stopped its remedial attempts to plug the leaking wells.
Since 2014, at…