Cut Pipeline Causes Oil Leak Off the Coast of Louisiana

A contractor working on a project to restore the effects of the BP oil spill accidently cut through a pipe-
line in September, causing an oil leak in Barataria Bay, off the shore of Louisiana. The pipeline is owned by Harvest Pipeline Co., an affiliate of Houston-based Hilcorp Energy.

Hilcorp was involved in another incident in July when an abandoned flow line owned by the company spilled 4,200 gallons of crude oil into another portion of Barataria Bay. The company is also fighting a lawsuit filed in June by the Louisiana Oysterman Association, who charged them with smothering oyster leases in the bay by dredging access channels.

The project involved in the September incident is part of a $36 million barrier island reconstruction
effort, funded by part of the $1 billion that BP made available a year after the Deepwater Horizon
oil rig caught fire and sank, releasing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf. The project is being overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. An environmental assessment prepared for the project warns that oil and gas pipelines are located throughout the project area.

According to the Coast Guard, 74 personnel, 21 boats, eight skimmers and about 10,000 feet of hard
boom was deployed to contain and recover the spilled oil. As of this writing, the cause of the pipeline
break was still under investigation.

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