NEW ORLEANS — Environmental attorneys and a New Orleans energy company agreed Thursday to work out differences over the confidentiality of documents related to an ongoing Gulf of Mexico oil leak from an offshore site damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Environmental groups including Waterkeeper Alliance, Apalachicola Riverkeeper and the Louisiana Environmental Action Network agreed in federal court with Taylor Energy to negotiate supplemental language for a 2015 settlement agreement over how and when to release information on Taylor’s response to the leak.
At issue are volumes of documents that Taylor Energy says include confidential information about oil spill containment technology developed for the company.
A 2015 Associated Press investigation revealed evidence that the leak was worse than the company or the federal government had earlier reported.
Government experts believe oil is still leaking at the site where waves whipped up by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 triggered an underwater mudslide, toppling a Taylor Energy-owned platform and burying a cluster of its oil wells under mounds of sediment. Last year, regulators estimated the leak could last a century or more if left unchecked.
Taylor Energy has said nothing can be done to completely eliminate persistent slicks from the site. The company has said the sheens sometimes seen off Louisiana’s coast are coming from residual oil oozing from sediment on the seafloor.