House Democrats Find Little Change in Drilling Incidents/Violations: Offshore Safety Lapses Continue Three Years After BP Spill

A report issued by the Democrats of the House Committee on Natural Resources concluded that offshore drilling safety lapses continue even three years after the BP Spill in 2010. In a press release, Representative Ed Markey (D-5th District, MA), ranking member on the House Committee on Natural Resources said, “Oil and gas companies with the worst safety records in the Gulf before the BP disaster continue to spill oil, lose control of their wells and rack up safety violations today.” The report was prepared by Markey’s Natural Resources committee staff based on data from the Technical Information Management System (TIMS) database maintained by the Department of the Interior (DOI).

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April 22, 2010 – Deepwater Horizon rig fire,
Photo: U.S. Coast Guard.

The report found, “companies with the most serious environmental or safety violations before the BP spill are still racking up the most violations today. BP, which is among the top violators since 2000, actually has been cited for more major offshore violations in the last two years than before the spill.” The British petroleum giant has been subject to increased scrutiny after their damaged well suffered a blow-out and spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into Gulf in the largest non-wartime oil spill in human history. However, other top polluters such as Shell continue to rack up violations and loss-of-control incidents, and were no more likely to be inspected post-BP than they were before the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

The report found a few positive notes, however, such as 50% fewer injuries from off-shore drilling incidents and fewer loss-of-control incidents since the DOI adopted stronger regulations in 2010. Gulf Monitoring Consortium members keep a watchful eye on the chronically polluting fossil fuel industry from space, the sky, and the surface – read more about us at:      http://www.gulfmonitor.org/about/current-members/

Read the full post-BP offshore safety and environmental protection report here:

Dangerous Drillers: Offshore Safety Lapses Continue Three Years after BP Spill

Gulf Restoration Network & Louisiana Bucket Brigade Join GMC

GMC.Feature.ImageThe Gulf Monitoring Consortium (GMC) welcomes the Gulf Restoration Network and Louisiana Bucket Brigade as the newest partners in a collaborative effort to detect and respond to oil and petrochemical pollution in and around the Gulf of Mexico. Both the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN) and Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB) have been working with the Consortium for some time and we are pleased to announce their official membership in our cooperative effort.

GRN and LABB bring substantial local knowledge, resources, and reputation to the Consortium, improving the GMC’s connection to local communities and strengthening our objective voice in the Gulf on pollution issues. The Gulf Restoration Network is committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the vital but imperiled natural resources of the Gulf Region. Louisiana Bucket Brigade’s mission is to support communities using grassroots action (such as air quality sampling with EPA-approved “buckets”) to create informed, sustainable neighborhoods free from industrial pollution.

The GMC is an innovative partnership combining remote sensing technologies, aerial observation, and photography; and resources on-the-ground and in-the-water to detect, document, and respond to pollution. Each member contributes their expertise to this integrated approach – SkyTruth provides guidance on areas of concern based on image analysis and digital mapping, SouthWings coordinates volunteer pilots to get GMC members in the air to monitor for and document pollution incidents, and Gulf Restoration Network, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, and Waterkeeper Alliance members such as the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper provide both local knowledge of on-going issues and resources on the surface to “groundtruth” what we observe from the sky.

Read more about the leaks and spills GRN documented on a routine monitoring flight in March with Southwings, and explore LABB’s iWitness Pollution map powered by SkyTruth Alerts.