R-Sen. David Vitter also made a telephone call to request a meeting between company and government officials, but the Louisiana Republican didn't send a letter on Taylor Energy's behalf, according to a spokeswoman.
The New Orleans company has failed to stop a decade-old oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico and lobbied for a refund of money reserved for spill containment work, according to letters obtained by The Associated Press through public records requests.
Since December, at least four members of Louisiana's congressional delegation have urged the Obama administration to take up a settlement proposal by Taylor Energy Company, the letters show. The company is down to one full-time employee and is no longer active in the offshore drilling industry, but its CEO is a prominent philanthropist and generous political donor.
But the lawmakers' appeals didn't help the company cut a deal: Authorities recently rebuffed Taylor Energy's settlement overtures and ordered it to perform more work at the site, according to Justice Department officials who were not authorized to comment publicly by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.
Taylor Energy sold all of its offshore leases and oil and gas interests in 2008. What's left of the company is led by Phyllis Taylor, whose last name is synonymous with a popular, state-funded program that has provided free college tuition to thousands of Louisiana students.
An Associated Press investigation in April revealed evidence that the leak is worse than the company, or government, have publicly reported during their secretive response. Presented with AP's findings, the Coast Guard provided a new leak estimate that is about 20 times greater than one recently touted by the company. The government also recently estimated that the leak could last a century or more if left unchecked.
|Know Your Oil|
In an effort to resolve its leak-related obligations, Taylor Energy asked federal regulators to refund an undisclosed amount of money that it deposited in a trust account to pay for response work, according to court records. The company, which embarked on a Washington lobbying campaign last year, claims nothing more can be done to eliminate the chronic slicks.
|White House Clean Energy|