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2013 March 08, Friday
Gulf of Mexico

A few weeks ago, our flight over the Gulf showed little of the usual ugly sheen we had been seeing off the southeast coast of Louisiana for the past six months, so we voiced cautious but hopeful optimism. (See "Clearer views and good news for the Gulf?") But today's flight gave us anything but optimism.  We saw pervasive rainbow and gray sheen in many places, including the two chronic pollution sites that have plagued the Gulf for years now -- the Taylor Energy site about 12 nautical miles (nm) off the southern tip of Louisiana, and the Macondo prospect another 50 nm offshore (home to the infamous lease block MC252 and the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe of 2010 April). We have flown more than 500 flight hours in the past three years over these offshore and coastal waters, and the two trends that disturb us most are 1) sources of "unknown sheen" are constant and uniquitous, and 2) the presence of visible marine life has dropped drastically.   After today's flight, we filed 15 NRC reports with the US Coast Guard for significant oil slicks or sheens over our 350-nm route.

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Read the full article and see all of the photos and videos here