The Latest: Retired general clashes with company president

AP News
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Posted: Jan 20, 2016 3:22 PM

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The latest on a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

A retired Army general best known for helping restore order in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina agreed to leave a public meeting about a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico following a testy exchange.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore (AHN'-ur-ay), who founded a coalition of environmental groups called "GreenARMY," asked Taylor Energy President William Pecue during Wednesday's meeting at an LSU research center why the company has downplayed the leak's potential environmental impact.

Pecue refused to answer, saying he is only taking written questions from the audience. Pecue told Honore he would have to leave if he persisted in asking his question. Honore left the room after Pecue threated to "shut this down."

Wednesday's forum is a requirement of a court settlement that Taylor Energy reached in September with environmental groups, which accused the company of withholding information about the leak.

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12:00 p.m.

An industry expert says it would be "painfully inaccurate" to compare a decade-old leak in the Gulf of Mexico to BP's massive gusher in the same waters.

Christopher Reddy, a scientist from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, addressed a meeting Wednesday organized by the New Orleans-based company responsible for the leak. Taylor Energy Company's leak began after a 2004 hurricane toppled one of its platforms off Louisiana's coast.

A judge ruled BP's 2010 blowout spilled 134 million gallons of crude into the Gulf. The watchdog group SkyTruth has estimated that up to 1.4 million gallons of oil has spilled from Taylor Energy's site since 2004.

Reddy was hired by Taylor Energy to be an expert witness for a lawsuit that environmental groups filed against the company in 2012.

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11:15 a.m.

A retired Army general best known for helping restore order in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina is one of the environmental advocates in the audience at a meeting about a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore (AHN'-ur-ay), who founded a coalition of environmental groups called "GreenARMY," said during a break in Wednesday's meeting that he wants to see more transparency from the company responsible.

Honore said he would like to see live video from the site where an underwater mudslide during Hurricane Ivan in 2004 toppled a platform owned by Taylor Energy Company and buried a cluster of wells under mounds of sediment.

Taylor Energy President William Pecue said the leak was caused by "an act of God," but Honore called it a "man-made disaster."

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9:40 a.m.

The president of a New Orleans-based company responsible for a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico says it was caused by "an act of God event."

Taylor Energy Company President William Pecue also told a gathering of industry experts and environmental advocates on Wednesday that the company cares "very deeply" about the environment.

Oil slicks often stretch for miles at the site where a Taylor Energy-owned platform toppled off the coast of Louisiana during Hurricane Ivan in 2004. Federal regulators estimate the leak could last a century or more if left unchecked.

Wednesday's forum in Baton Rouge is a requirement of a court settlement that Taylor Energy reached in September with environmental groups, which accused the company of withholding information about the leak.

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5 a.m.

For the first time, a New Orleans-based company is hosting a public meeting to disclose details of its ongoing efforts to end a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Taylor Energy Company agreed to hold Wednesday's forum in Baton Rouge when it reached a court settlement in September with environmental groups that accused the company of withholding information about the leak.

A Taylor Energy executive is expected to answer questions from the audience during the daylong meeting.

Taylor Energy has said nothing can be done to completely eliminate the chronic sheens that frequently stretch for miles off Louisiana's coast at the site where one of its platforms toppled during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

Federal regulators recently estimated the leak could last a century or more if left unchecked.