Offshore drilling and infrastructure:
Why should I care?
SkyTruth has been a leader in monitoring pollution from offshore drilling, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico. For example, SkyTruth was the first to reveal to the world that the oil spill from BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster was vastly larger than the Coast Guard and BP stated in 2010. The media focus on our findings generated public pressure for the federal government to determine more accurate estimates of the size of this disaster, and set the stage for the large restoration fees BP ultimately owed to coastal states and communities for the coastlines, fisheries, wildlife, and communities devastated by the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
At the tenth anniversary of the disaster in April 2020, SkyTruth held an online briefing featuring experts on offshore drilling and the impacts of the BP spill to educate journalists and others about the ongoing threats posed by continued drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
SkyTruth also detected the infamous Taylor Energy leak, ongoing for more than 14 years until public pressure generated by SkyTruth’s analysis caused the Coast Guard to take action in 2018. We continue to monitor the Taylor Energy site and other major pollution events in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world and share our analysis publicly to help shed light on the causes and consequences of offshore pollution.
SkyTruth’s ongoing work mapping offshore infrastructure will help us more effectively target our daily oil pollution monitoring work on areas that are at high risk for pollution events from oil and gas drilling and shipping. We developed an algorithm to differentiate structures such as offshore drilling platforms and wind turbines from vessels, and are creating a database of offshore infrastructure around the world. We published our work in 2019 in the peer-reviewed journal Remote Sensing of Environment.
Today, our SkyTruth Alerts system alerts all subscribers to oil and hazardous materials spills reported to the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Response Center (NRC) around the country and throughout coastal areas. Anyone can subscribe. These alerts not only have informed activists since 2012, they demonstrate ongoing oil pollution problems in hotspots such as the Gulf of Mexico. SkyTruth’s tracking and mapping of all pollution spills reported to the NRC since 2010 reveals the extent of this chronic problem.
We also track major oil spills around the world, working as space detectives to help uncover the sources and identify perpetrators of these disasters. The Taylor Energy Oil Spill was a significant victory for SkyTruth, the environment and the people of the Gulf Coast. You can find our data on the Taylor Energy site and read more about work tracking oil spills from offshore drilling on our blog.
Our latest work on offshore drilling and infrastructure
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