Taken on a SouthWings flight over the Mississippi River Delta with Gulf Restoration Network, these photos by Jonathan Henderson link visible wetlands damage to specific permits that oil and gas companies obtained for drilling at these sites in coastal Louisiana.
Annotated aerial photo set available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/healthygulf/sets/72157643594038754/
The straight lines in this photo (right) are examples of the canals that oil and gas companies dredge through wetlands to access well sites. These artificial canals disrupt wetland hydrology and exacerbate or cause wetlands loss. A study conducted by the US Geological Survey found that oil and gas activities caused 36% of the coastal land loss that occurred in Louisiana from 1932 to 1990.
Read more about this from Jonathan Henderson here.
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:
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: http://alerts.skytruth.org/report/9248a2f7-f0dc-349c-b43d-7aa44524e08e To learn more about the Taylor leak go to: http://blog.skytruth.org/2013/06/9-years-countless-gallons-spilled-no.html and http://lmrk.org/lmrk-news-feed/judge-denies-taylor-energy-motion-to-dismiss-clean-water-act-violations-suit/
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: http://alerts.skytruth.org/report/318c5b35-3b82-3833-8111-6d77c4b2a56d 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: http://alerts.skytruth.org/report/09b9a069-f208-3f08-92cd-0606a3e53746 This appears to be the NRC report submitted by EPL Oil & Gas: http://alerts.skytruth.org/report/87b6e429-9424-3c7a-b0eb-c36a8b1ccb27 with the cause of the leak being reported as internal corrosion from a flow line.
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.
A leaking oil well that appears to be owned by Apache Corporation near Golden Meadow. Submitted to the NRC by GMC: http://alerts.skytruth.org/report/9dec11d3-84ea-3942-b4ef-1e8cc54f8fe7 This appears to be the NRC report submitted by Apache Corporation on the day after our flight (Oct. 1) for the leak: http://alerts.skytruth.org/report/2f638365-70c9-3851-a2a9-a5b334d785e9 with the cause of the leak being reported as a corroded flow line. The Gulf environment is highly corrosive to metals.
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: