Bird’s Eye View: New Leaks Discovered and Reported

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/

BLOG GMC September 30 2013 661Earlier 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.

BLOG2The 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.

Oil and Gas Leaks in the Gulf – Business as Usual

On September 30, 2013 the Gulf Monitoring Consortium conducted a monitoring flight of south-east Louisiana and found what it always finds; oil and gas operations spilling oil and other pollutants into the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana coastal wetlands. Here are some highlights, or perhaps, “lowlights” from the flight:

Coastal wetlands destroyed by oil and gas activity.

The slick from the still leaking Taylor wells off of the Mississippi River delta stretched into the distance as usual and reminded the passengers of the BP oil disaster. This oil has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico since 2004. An NRC report was attempted to be made by GMC but was rejected because NRC reports are also filed daily by Taylor. The NRC report for Sept. 30 can be seen here: To learn more about the Taylor leak go to: and

Coastal wetlands destroyed by oil and gas activity.

A sizable oil slick was seen south of Port Fourchon near a Chevron platform and appears that it could be from a leaking pipeline below the surface. Reported to the NRC by GMC: There does not appear to be an NRC report from the responsible party.


A badly leaking platform in East Bay near wells owned by EPL Oil & Gas and Shell. Submitted to the NRC by GMC: This appears to be the NRC report submitted by EPL Oil & Gas: with the cause of the leak being reported as internal corrosion from a flow line.

Coastal wetlands destroyed by oil and gas activity.

Oil and gas wells also produce wastewater called “produced water” which often contains high levels of salts, chemicals from drilling fluids, and naturally occuring radioactive material. The state of Louisiana allows produced waters from oil and gas rigs in Louisiana State waters to be discharged directly into the Gulf of Mexico without any treatment. Due to a lawsuit brought by Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) the court has ordered the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to examine the impacts of produced waters on Louisiana’s environment.

Coastal wetlands destroyed by oil and gas activity.

A leaking oil well that appears to be owned by Apache Corporation near Golden Meadow. Submitted to the NRC by GMC: This appears to be the NRC report submitted by Apache Corporation on the day after our flight (Oct. 1) for the leak: with the cause of the leak being reported as a corroded flow line. The Gulf environment is highly corrosive to metals.

Coastal wetlands destroyed by oil and gas activity.

Louisiana coastal wetlands cut into shreds by oil and gas activity. A lawsuit brought by a levee authority in South East Louisiana against oil and gas companies has re-ignited the debate over wether oil and gas companies should be held responsible for the damge that they have caused to Louisiana’s coastal wetlands.

The flight was provided by GMC member SouthWings and piloted by Bruce McGregor. NRC reports and additional photo documentation made by Jonathan Henderson of Gulf Restoration Network and photo documentation made by Jeffrey Dubinsky of Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper. Pre-flight NRC analysis by SkyTruth.

To see all of the photos from this flight go to: