"Miles long" oil slick on Mississippi originated in Natchez storage tank

On behalf of Rock Palermo of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC posted in Oil and Gas on June 14, 2012.

The U.S. Coast Guard has said that a "miles-long" oil slick on the Mississippi River is believed to have come from an oil and gas storage tank on an industrial site upriver in Mississippi.

The oil slick was first noticed on Wednesday. Although it has dissipated in most parts, some of the oily gunk is still clogging shorelines in Louisiana and Missouri. Evidently, the environmental damage is worst in Louisiana's West Feliciana and Point Coupee parishes.

El Toro Production Co. in Natchez is believed to be the company that had the leaking storage tank, but employees have not responded to media inquiries. We also do not know exactly what is causing the oil slick; the Coast Guard has said it is a "petroleum-based product" but that is all.

Frankly, we read far too many stories like about such cases of negligence and irresponsibility. The Mississippi River is a public treasure and every time someone contaminates it through his or her carelessness, we all suffer. The problem with polluters like this is that their misdeeds affect other people as much or more as they affect the polluters themselves. It simply is not fair to ask Louisiana landowners to bear the cost of the harm oil and gas companies, manufacturers and refineries cause when they do not follow the rules.

Certainly, we have state and federal agencies devoted to protecting our environment, but as an added layer of protection, we have lawsuits that seek to hold polluters accountable for the damage to they do to privately owned land. Such lawsuits make polluting more expensive and hopefully that will make polluters think twice.

Source: The New Orleans Times-Picayune, "Coast Guard probes sheen in Mississippi River south of Natchez," June 14, 2012

Tags: Oil and Gas

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