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Gulf Oil Spill Shows Risk From 18,000 Miles of Abandoned Pipe

  • Slick is dissipating after dome was lowered on leak source
  • Gulf floor littered with decommissioned pipelines that leak
Power Restoration Begins In New Orleans After Ida Wrecked Grid
Photographer: Mark Felix/Bloomberg

An oil spill unleashed by Hurricane Ida is highlighting longstanding concerns about the more than 18,000 miles of decommissioned pipelines that still snake through the Gulf of Mexico, even though they no longer transport crude and natural gas.

The spill, roughly three miles from the Louisiana coast, is believed to have sprung from an abandoned 12-inch pipeline that still had oil inside. It appeared on Tuesday to have been contained, but not before it created an oily slick 14 miles long.