Greenpeace Sends Investigative Team to Gulf

Feature story - September 16, 2005
Mix 2,000 oil platforms and 600 toxic chemical facilities with a category 4 hurricane. Churn for hours in winds of more than 100 miles per hour. Combine poor facility safety measures and no emergency preparation. Add a dash of incompetence at the federal, state, and local levels. Makes one large serving of lethal toxic soup. Ingredients:

* 2,000 oil platforms

* Thousands of miles of underwater pipelines

* 600 toxic chemical facilities

* Millions of pounds of toxic chemicals and waste

* 29 feet of flood waters

* 1 large category 4 hurricane

There are more than 2,000 oil platforms and 600 toxic chemical facilities densely clustered in the Gulf region. It took just 1 storm to blow the lid off the dangers they impose to both area residents and the environment.

Now, in the wake of Katrina, stories of oil spills and toxic leaks are pouring in as fast as the storm's floodwaters. Early estimates indicate at least 5 large oil spills of up to 820,000 gallons of crude oil - roughly half the size of the Exxon Valdez spill. But much of the region has yet to be explored, and satellite imagery suggests there are several more spills and ongoing leaks in Gulf waters.

We decided to investigate for ourselves, so we've sent a five person team to the region.

Follow their findings along with us on their new blog.