Gulf Monitoring Consortium's Latest Activity

This blog is from Michael Orr at Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper on behalf of the Gulf Monitoring Consortium.

The delta of the Mississippi River is like no other place on earth. Its vast and ever changing landscape is a beautiful maze that can feel a million miles from civilization. However, this region is home to an extensive array of pipelines, platforms, abandoned wells and a host of other energy infrastructure that is an ever-present and constant reminder of man's impact on the environment here. This highly industrialized network within the wild Louisiana wetlands often poses considerable environmental threats that can often go unnoticed and unaddressed.

In an effort to better address these issues, the Gulf Monitoring Consortium has been founded by Waterkeeper Alliance, Southwings and SkyTruth, three groups leading the charge to protect our priceless natural resources in the Gulf of Mexico. LMRK, as part of Waterkeeper Alliance, is extremely excited to begin the important work of the GMC.  

GMC Water Patrol Report from Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper
Following a report last week from our partners at SkyTruth and SouthWings, the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper crew made our way to Breton Sound this past Friday in 'Julia' our 17' patrol boat. The goal was two fold. First check the status of the Well Head that had an oil slick emanating from it last week. Second, document the decaying oil and gas infrastructure in the area.

Click here to view the photo gallery from this patrol
Special thanks to our dedicated and talented photographer Jeffrey Dubinsky

Our Findings:

Wellhead - There were no visible signs of oil in the area we traveled. We did not see a slick at the wellhead but there was a distinct petroleum odor. The well also leaned strongly to one side and had damage to some of the structure. The damage appeared to have been caused by an impact from a large vessel but the specific cause is not known.

Decaying Infrastructure - As we observed in the past, there is an extensive amount of abandoned and decaying infrastructure. We documented some that were partially under water and some that had obviously been abandoned. This is consistent with every trip we have ever taken. In the past we have observed submerged and gas leaking wellheads, with no identifying marks on them. Heavily rusted structures, wells with no lighting or signs. When events happen it is not uncommon for the agencies overseeing these rigs to be unable to identify the owners/operators for days at a time.

Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper is proud to be part of the implementation of the Gulf Monitoring Consortium and excited about its potential to have a powerful impact on improving the state of the Gulf.

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