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SkyTruth has released a database created from more than 27,000 industry reports on the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” This data, obtained through a great expenditure of time and effort by SkyTruth personnel, is being made freely available to the public for research and analysis. Our hope is that this information will promote discussion about effective disclosure and credible research on this nationally significant issue.
Voluntary industry disclosures on fracking from across the country are available in the SkyTruth Fracking Chemical Database.
On February 2, SkyTruth along with our Gulf Monitoring Consortium partners, Waterkeeper Alliance, Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper and SouthWings released its first report on oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico. The report investigates several spills in the Gulf, including the ongoing leak at Platform 23051, which SkyTruth has been monitoring and has kept an ongoing chronology which can be seen on our blog. The report also highlights numerous deficiencies in the reporting and response process. The full report can be found here.
SkyTruth Satellite Image Shows Large Slick From Shell Oil Spill off Nigeria
On Wednesday, December 21, SkyTruth obtained a radar satellite image showing a major oil spill in the waters off the coast of Nigeria. The image, taken at approximately 9:30am local time on December 21, 2011 by the ASAR instrument aboard the Envisat satellite operated by the European Space Agency, reveals a slick covering 923 square kilometers (356 square miles).
The image may be viewed and downloaded from the SkyTruth blog.
Image republication is permitted with the following credit statement:
"Envisat ASAR image analyzed by SkyTruth (http://www.skytruth.org) - data courtesy European Space Agency"
On Tuesday December 20, Shell reported an oil spill in this area, approximately 75 miles off the western coast of Nigeria in the Bonga Field. The company reported "less than" 1.7 million gallons (40,000 barrels) of oil leaked as workers were transferring crude oil to a tanker.
"Once again satellite images have proven their value as a tool for detecting, mapping and monitoring oil pollution far out at sea, anywhere in the world" said SkyTruth President, John Amos. "Our analysts examine satellite images every day to investigate pollution incident reports, and to detect and document unreported pollution events. We publish our findings for all to see in the SkyTruth Alerts system, on our blog, and via Facebook and Twitter. We'll add this area off Nigeria to the list of places we regularly monitor."
Brazil - Campos Basin Oil Spill
The most recent image we were able to get that wasn't cloud-covered is from November 12, 2011.
It shows an apparent oil slick originating from the drilling location and extending over 2,379 square kilometers (the south end of the slick gets entrained in an interesting clockwise eddy in the ocean currents). At 1 micron thickness, that's a volume of 628,000 gallons (14,954 barrels) of oil.
Assuming the spill began midday on November 8 (24 hours before we first observe it on satellite imagery), we estimate a spill rate of at least 157,000 gallons (3,738 barrels) per day. That's more than 10 times larger than Chevron's estimate of 330 barrels per day. Read our updates at our SkyTruth Blog
SkyTruth Alerts: Automated Pollution Alert System
Ever wonder what's going on in the environment around your home, your school, your favorite vacation spot? Us too: the world is a big place, and it takes a LOT of satellite images to cover it all. Here at SkyTruth we scour the infosphere for hints telling us where to look, and when. Over the years we've accumulated a collection of information sources that we use to decide which satellite images to analyze, and then we use this blog to report our findings and publish our images. We've been working on a system to easily share those sources with our partners, and now we're ready to share it with everyone.
SkyTruth has launched a new service on our website called SkyTruth Alerts where we publish environmental incident reports, as we get (and produce) them. We are starting off the service with reports collected from three sources - focused heavily on oil and gas drilling and related activities in the US. The sources are reported oil and hazardous materials spills from the National Response Center, pollution response and investigation reports from NOAA's Incident News, and incident analyses published on our own SkyTruth blog. We will add more information sources over coming weeks, and extend our focus to include gas drilling and fracking in the Marcellus Shale.
How It Works
The system works by displaying on a map or in Google Earth the most recent incident reports from all sources for whatever region you are interested in. You can browse through the list of incidents geographically on the map, or chronologically in a list. Each incident report identifies the source of the report, the location, and details about the incident. Incident reports are pulled automatically from the various sources several times per day and updated immediately on the website. A visitor to the site can type in the name of a city or a street address and go directly to that location to see the recent incidents that have been reported nearby.
Automatic Update Notifications
Of course, no one wants to have to keep returning to a website every day just to see if anything new has been posted, which is why we offer a subscription system that delivers updates within your personally selected geographic area via RSS feed, or straight to your email (you'll get one "daily digest" message per day).
So give it a try to get informed about pollution incidents happening in the places you care most about. And please let us know what you like, what you don't, what you wish you could do with the Alerts. We will continually work to improve this system, so your feedback is very important!
SkyTruth, SouthWings and Waterkeeper Alliance Launch Gulf of Mexico Monitoring Consortium
Shepherdstown, WV. - On April 19, 2011 , SkyTruth, SouthWings, and Waterkeeper Alliance launched the Gulf Monitoring Consortium: an innovative partnership that is systematically monitoring oil pollution in the Gulf of Mexico with satellite images and mapping, aerial reconnaissance and photography, and on-the-water observation and sampling. This unique effort led by three non-profit organizations will collect and publish images, observations and sampling data of the Gulf of Mexico to rapidly respond to reported and suspected oil pollution incidents. SkyTruth, SouthWings and the Waterkeeper Alliance worked collaboratively during the 2010 Gulf disaster to use their unique expertise to bring the truth about the spill to the public. The natural fit of the services and tools of these organizations working together will help ensure that future disasters are quickly discovered and documented, and that the story is fully presented to the public. This newly formed alliance will actively bear witness to current, ongoing, and future oil pollution to fill the information gap exposed since the tragic BP / Deepwater Horizon explosion one year ago tomorrow.
SkyTruth envisions a world where all people can see and understand the environmental consequences of human activity everywhere on the earth and are motivated to take action to protect the environment. We use remote sensing and digital mapping to educate the public and policymakers about the environmental consequences of human activities, and to hold corporations and governments to higher standards of accountability around the globe. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Satellite images allow us to see what's happening in places that we could never visit in person, and on a grand scale that only astronauts experience firsthand. Satellites have been taking pictures of the earth for more than fifty years, so in many places, we can even travel back in time to show how rapidly landscapes have changed as a result of human activity.
Our mission is twofold:
- Motivating people to take action to conserve natural resources, use energy more wisely and protect our environment.
- Providing the public with powerful images and maps so that everyone can engage decision makers, journalists, and others on conservation and environmental protection.
Dozens of citizens groups have used SkyTruth images to identify conservation priorities, develop strategy and communicate the issues they work on. We've detected hair thin slicks of oil that exposed chronic leaks from offshore wells and tracked massive oil slicks caused by multi-million gallon spills hundreds of miles offshore. We've illustrated entire neighborhoods being swallowed by open pit mining operations and inundated by toxic spills. Our images have documented the slowly unfolding destruction of Appalachian landscapes by mountaintop removal mining over a 30-year time span and measured the change in composition of deciduous forests due to clearcut logging and commercial tree farming.
SkyTruth images have appeared on network news broadcasts, in major magazines and newspapers and on innumerable websites and blogs. Our work has been used in public meetings and courtroom proceedings and in legal expert witness reports. SkyTruth has given briefings to Congressional and Administrative staff, and testified at Congressional hearings. We regularly give presentations at meetings and conferences and provide training and consulting to other organizations.
Look around our site to see a few examples of what we do, learn more about how we work and find out how you can participate. Thanks for visiting!
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skytruth in the news
We've been getting a lot of attention from the media lately, mostly due to our work on the BP / Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. You can download reports listing our media and web appearances and you might also be interested in reading our latest newsletter. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Los Angeles Times, Group Launches Online Environmental Accident Map
- New York Times (Op-ed), The Measure of a Disaster
- New York Times, Size of Oil Spill Underestimated, Scientists Say
- New York Times, Estimates Suggest Spill Is Biggest in U.S. History
- Los Angeles Times, Tiny group has big impact on spill estimates
- Washington Post, 5,000 or 26,000 barrels a day: Size of gulf oil spill is a guesstimate
- Wall Street Journal, Experts: Oil May Be Leaking at Rate of 25,000 Barrels a Day in Gulf
- Miami Herald, Gulf oil spill has 'perfect precedence' in 1979 disaster
- Shepherdstown Chronicle, SkyTruth Sheds Light on Gulf Oil Spill
- West Virginia Observer, SkyTruth
SkyTruth would like to thank: