EDITOR’S NOTE: Be sure see the report on the first flight from GMC member Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper – /gmc/oil-and-gas-leaks-in-the-gulf-business-as-usual/
Earlier this week, GRN participated in three Gulf Monitoring Consortium coastal flyovers as part of our ongoing efforts to raise awareness and document ongoing oil and gas industry pollution and destruction of Louisiana’s wetlands and coastal environment. Gulf Monitoring Consortium (GMC) is a rapid response alliance that collects, analyzes and publishes images and other information from space, sky, and the surface to investigate and expose oil pollution incidents that occur in the Gulf of Mexico. GMC members engage in systematic monitoring of oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico using satellite images and mapping, aerial reconnaissance and photography, and on-the-ground and in-the-water observation and sampling to identify, locate and track new and ongoing oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.
The first flight was on the morning of Monday, September 30th and was provided by GMC member SouthWings and piloted by Bruce McGregor. GRN filed four reports with the National Response Center based on leaks that we encountered. For a detailed report from this flight including photos by Jeffrey Dubinsky of Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper, links to GMC partner Skytruth’s alert system which tracks NRC reports, and other details, please see this blog post by Paul Orr of the Lower Mississippi River Keeper and LEAN. GRN Photos and details from this flyover can be viewed by visiting the link below. Be sure to click on the photos for descriptions:
A second flight on September 30th was also provided by GMC member SouthWings and piloted by Bruce McGregor. The purpose of this flight was to survey oil, gas, and pipeline Permit locations and corresponding damage within the jurisdiction of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East. The SLFPA-E has filed a lawsuit against 97 oil, gas, and pipeline companies for damages they have caused to Louisiana wetlands, damages that they have yet to repair or mitigate. GRN invitedDemocracy Now! along on this flight to provide them with aerial imagery of destroyed wetlands resulting from oil, gas and pipeline canals. You can view the first part of Democracy Now’s report here. You can view the second part of that report here.
On the morning of October 1st, a third flyover provided by GMC member SouthWings and piloted by Bruce McGregor was conducted. As a result of that flight, GRN filed an additional 4 NRC reports for new leaks discovered. To view images and details of these leaks, please visit the link below and be sure to click on each photo for descriptions:
What we continue to learn from these over flights is that the Gulf carries on as the “energy sacrifice zone” for the rest of the United States. The communities that live, work, and recreate in the Gulf region deserve much better from both industry and our government. Please read this article by oil spill expert Dr. Rick Steiner to understand how the creation of a Gulf Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council can and should be implemented to protect our coast and communities. To learn more and become involved in the fight for an RCAC, please visit here and help support some of our friends and allies fighting for an RCAC.
Jonathan Henderson is the Coastal Resiliency Organizer for GRN.