New Orleans-based Taylor Energy said Thursday it has reached a settlement for a slow motion oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, but environmentalist groups involved in the deal have said a deal has not been finalized.
According to the AP, a federal court filing stated that Taylor agreed to make a $300,000 donation to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium and provide an additional $100,000 to fund research on the environmental impact of small, long term leaks in the U.S. Gulf.
The company said it will also host a public forum and build a website with information about its spill response efforts to the now decade long leak.
The environmentalist groups said Thursday that no final agreement has been signed and refused to comment on the details of a potential settlement.
“We are very pleased about the progress of negotiations with Taylor, and have come to a conceptual agreement that has not yet been finalized. As no final settlement agreement exists between the parties at this time, we are not at liberty to discuss the details of a potential settlement,” the groups said.
The suit was initially filed in 2012 by a group led by New York-based Waterkeeper Alliance and was scheduled to go to trial on October 5.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Wells Roby wrote in a court filing that the agreement must be approved by the U.S. Coast Guard and federal offshore environmental officials, the AP noted.
In the suit, the groups allege that Taylor withheld information about the potential ecological impact of the leak and argued that the public should be able to learn more about the company’s government-supervised effort to halt it.
In April, the Associated Press published an investigation that claimed the leak was releasing about 91 gallons of oil per day across eight square miles, about 20 times more oil than the company’s estimate.
The leak was caused by a platform that collapsed during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Repairing the leak proved to be difficult because waves around the site set off underwater mudslides that buried several oil wells in sediment, preventing the company from using common well plugging techniques.
The groups were asking the court impose civil penalties payable to the U.S. Treasury Department for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.
According to a company website, Taylor Energy Company LLC sold its oil and gas assets in 2008 and ceased all drilling and production operations.