Exclusive: Tests on New Oil Slick Off Louisiana Point to Fresh Spill

Oil seen off Louisiana, June 2011

The National Wildlife Federation has just received the results of tests on the newly-discovered oil in the Gulf of Mexico off Louisiana, not far from the Delta National Wildlife Refuge. We gave the samples to Ed Overton, professor emeritus in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Louisiana State University. Here’s the email I just got from Maura Wood in NWF’s Coastal Lousiana office in Baton Rouge:

According to Ed Overton, the sample from the boat captain is not BP oil, either weathered or fresh. Ed called it South Louisiana crude, and said it had not been out there that long, as it still contained light volatiles. He said the Coast Guard had also taken samples and sent them to a different lab.

Those test results counter early suggestions that the oil was stirred-up oil from last year’s BP oil disaster.

As SkyTruth has reported, pollution reports this week had indicated “small amounts of oil spilled” at a platform about 20 miles northwest of the site of the new slick. It’s not clear if this slick is connected to those reports or to another as-yet-unknown incident.

Oil slicks like this show that contrary to the oil drilling industry’s claims, oil spills are tragically common. The National Wildlife Federation detailed the oil and gas industry’s long record of mishaps in our Assault on America report last year.

Until Congress acts to dedicate fines and penalties from the Gulf oil disaster to restoring Gulf wetlands & ecosystems, the Mississippi River Delta remains vulnerable. Have you asked your members of Congress to stand up for the Gulf’s people and wildlife?

Speak Up for Gulf Restoration

Please take a moment right now to ask your members of Congress to pass oil disaster response legislation that devotes fines and penalties to coastal wetlands restoration.

Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s response to the Gulf oil disaster at NWF.org/OilSpill.