Whatever, BP; Taylor Energy Company was spilling oil in the Gulf of Mexico way before it went mainstream. A broken Taylor wellhead has been leaking as much as 4,000 gallons a day into the Gulf for the last seven years, according to a lawsuit filed by water conservation groups Apalachicola Riverkeeper and Waterkeepers Alliance.

The reason you haven’t heard about this is that Taylor is playing it seriously close to the vest. The suit says that Taylor failed to inform basically anyone about the well failure, or any peripheral information that might help determine how serious it is and what action needs to be taken:

Taylor has failed to provide the public with information regarding the pace and extent of the oil leaks and Taylor’s efforts to control the leaks. Indeed, Taylor has failed to specify: (1) How many of the wells at the Mississippi Canyon Block 20 (MC 20) site are still leaking oil, (2) How many of the wells at the MC 20 site have been completely decommissioned, (3) When the remaining wells at the MC 20 site will be completely decommissioned, (4) When the oil leak will be completely stopped, and (5) How much sub-surface oil from the MC 20 site is currently in the Gulf.

If the well is really leaking as much as the conservation groups claim — they’re working with estimates, since Taylor isn’t exactly rushing to provide hard data — then this could have twice as much impact on the Gulf as the BP spill in 2010. At 4,000 gallons a day for seven years, the leak would have dumped 10.2 million gallons, compared with 4.9 million from the BP spill.

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