Oil Spill Washes Up On Louisiana Coast As New Drilling Authorized

Oil slick near Grand Isle, LA.

Yesterday, as the Obama administration “approved the first deepwater oil and gas exploration plan since last year’s Macondo oil well blowout,” “emulsified oil, oil mousse and tar balls from an unknown source were washing up on beaches from Grand Isle to West Timbalier Island along the Gulf of Mexico, a stretch of about 30 miles.” This new oil spill may be related to an offshore well plug and abandonment project conducted on Saturday. Meanwhile, Shell Offshore won approval to “seek drilling permits for three new wells 130 miles off the Louisiana coast”:

The announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich won praise from the industry and from Louisiana lawmakers who have been pressing the administration to reopen drilling in the Gulf.

Further underscoring the environmental costs of oil, a shipwreck on Nightingale Island in the South Atlantic, is leaking 1,500 tons of heavy crude oil, threatening half of the world’s population of rockhopper penguins.

Oiled rockhopper penguins rescued by Britain’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.