Who We Are
The Gulf Monitoring Consortium (GMC) is a rapid response alliance that collects, analyzes and publishes images and other information acquired from space, from the air, and from the surface in order to investigate and expose pollution incidents that occur in the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast region.
Our members engage in systematic monitoring of pollution in the Gulf of Mexico using satellite images and mapping, aerial reconnaissance and photography, combined with on-the-ground and on-the-water observation and sampling.
The Consortium’s long-term goal is to reduce pollution by ensuring that industry and government pollution reports are accurate, credible and understandable, so that the true state of pollution related to energy development is widely acknowledged and incorporated into public policy and decision-making.
The BP oil spill in 2010 highlighted the flawed process by which oil discharges are reported and cleaned up, and through which polluters are held responsible. It revealed how the official channels of reporting and cleaning up oil pollution rely, to an inordinate degree, on the polluters themselves. Little information is made available to the public, and the information that is presented could be considered untrustworthy.
In response, SkyTruth, Waterkeeper Alliance and SouthWings launched the Gulf Monitoring Consortium (GMC) on April 19, 2011: an innovative partnership designed to monitor oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico systematically by space, sea and sky. Each partner brings unique expertise to the Consortium:
Space: During the first days of the spill SkyTruth accurately calculated that the amount of oil spewing into the Gulf was at least 20 times greater than the official BP and Coast Guard estimate, and their continual analysis of satellite imagery uncovered a chronic leak which was unrelated to the BP spill and had been polluting the Gulf since 2004.
Sea: In the days and weeks after the BP spill, Waterkeeper Alliance member organizations along the Gulf Coast collected aquatic organisms, sediment and water samples. These efforts proved valuable to communities and government offficials who needed detailed information about conditions on the ground.
Sky: As the BP cleanup effort unfolded, SouthWings provided a bird’s eye view of the efforts, allowing community leaders to share information with their neighbors, the media and political officials. SouthWings’ flights confirmed the leak from the offshore oil wells destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and continue to aerially discover and document new and continuing leaks.
How We Operate
The Consortium continues to evaluate, investigate and publicize new and ongoing fossil fuel and petrochemical pollution incidents in the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Coast region. As we identify spills, we publish images, observations, and sampling data to promote rapid response to reported and suspected oil pollution incidents. We believe that these actions will shine a light on the environmental degradation caused by industry practices and allowed by deficiencies in government oversight.
To become a part of the Consortium, see our Membership Guidelines.