Monday, May 16, 2016

Fires Still Burning around Ft. McMurray

A wildfire described as "absolutely apocalyptic" is still burning around tar sands mining operations near Ft. McMurray, Alberta. Daily satellite imagery from NASA's MODIS sensors reveals how much land has already been burned, and where the fires are still burning.  
This imagery is grainy because this is relatively low resolution (250m), but it provides a timely look a major landscape changes around the world. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NPR – Gotcha: Satellites Help Strip Seafood Pirates Of Their Booty

Interview with John about Global Fishing Watch and using AIS to track suspected illegal fishing activity in the waters of Palau.

Click here to read the full story.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Heavy Oil in the Water at Taylor Energy Site #23051 [Photos and Video]

Our partners at On Wings of Care and Florida State University have been out skytruthing and seatruthing heavy oil on the water around the downed Taylor Energy Platform #23051. We have been tracking this ongoing leak that has persisted in the Gulf of Mexico since 2004, but lately the oil has been particularly prominent. 

You can see aerial photos and photos from sea level here:

 and here:

You can also click here to download a recent Landsat satellite image that shows the oil slick.

NOTE: On the satellite image, the green streaks in the water are most likely a type of seaweed known as sargassum. But the bluish-grey smears SE of the Delta is oil.

We do not have the most recent NRC reports due to the shutdown of the public side of the NRC website. You can usually access the reports updated weekly from our temporary work-around here...

[[Location: 28.938022, -88.970963]]

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Oil Spill in Delta National Wildlife Refuge - Controlled Burn Planned

From the National Response Center: (May 28, 2014)


From The Times- Picayune: (June 2, 2014)

By Ken Daley, | The Times-Picayune
on June 02, 2014 at 8:37 PM, updated June 02, 2014 at 8:52 PM

Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Coast Guard announced Monday they were working to mitigate damage from a spill of crude oil within the Delta National Wildlife Refuge.

The agencies reported that a silver sheen of oil was spotted by an aerial overflight last Wednesday (May 28). An investigation determined the source of the crude oil discharge was a leaky bulk line buried under the surface of the marsh and that the Houston-based Texas Petroleum Investment Company was the responsible party.

Officials estimated the leak's volume as equivalent to about 50 barrels. They said an estimated 10 acres of fresh-water marsh in a remote section of the refuge was impacted, in an area located about 10 miles southeast of Venice in
 Plaquemines Parish. Access to the area was said to be difficult, with cleanup crews limited to flat-bottomed boats once inclement weather had passed.

Officials said a controlled burn would be ignited Tuesday to reduce the amount of oil in the marsh and accelerate cleanup operations. Refuge manager Neil Lalonde said airboats and scare cannons would be deployed to temporarily disperse wildlife, but that the controlled burn would be closely monitored and have minimal impact on avian, wildlife and marine species.

Lalonde said Octave Pass would be temporarily closed to mariners during the burn, but would be reopened after its conclusion.

[[Location:29.245556, -89.199167]]

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Train Carrying Canadian Crude Oil and Propane Derails in Vandergrift, Pa.

Via WPXI -

VANDERGRIFT, Pa. — A train hauling crude oil and propane derailed in Vandergrift, Westmoreland County, Thursday morning.

More than 21 cars on a Norfolk Southern rail line between Vandergrift and East Vandergrift derailed around 8:30 a.m.   One of the cars torpedoed into the MSI Corporation.

“The lights were shaking and everything was going out.  All the lights were going out,” said MSI Corporation employee Greg Shotts.

People inside the MSI Corporation building were evacuated.

Engineers were sent to examine the structural integrity of the damaged building.

“MSI Company has been evacuated due to the one car going into their building. Until the structural integrity of the building is determined to be safe, we will refrain from putting anyone back into that building,” Stevens said. “There’s no evacuation planned as of right now. If an evacuation is to occur, we will let you know as soon as we have that information.”

Northfolk Southern estimated thousands of gallons of crude oil leaked from four tank cars.

It wasn’t immediately clear what was leaking.

“If it’s leaking, we’re kind of screwed because it’s sitting in the middle of town,” said Lorenda Banks.

Officials said it could take days to completely clear the area.

Norfolk Southern released a statement Thursday afternoon saying, ”A 120-car Norfolk Southern train derailed 21 rail cars at Vandergrift, Pa., about 20 miles NE of Pittsburgh at 8 a.m. today [Thursday].

"Nineteen of the derailed cars contained heavy crude oil and two cars contained LPG gas. Four cars were leaking crude oil, but the leaks from each of the cars have been stopped. Norfolk Southern has an environmental team on site with the clean-up of an estimated 3,000-4000 gallons of crude oil.

"During the derailment some of the rail cars struck a building which fabricates metal products, and at least one of the cars is in the building.

"The train was transporting a variety of products, including Canadian heavy crude oil, LPG, soda ash, and food products. The train originated in Chicago and its final destination was Paulsboro, N.J.”

Westmoreland County Emergency Management spokesman Dan Stevens said no injuries were reported.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Appalachian Water Watch Alert - Patriot Coal Slurry Spill

From Appalachian Voices -

On early Tuesday morning a coal slurry leak into Fields Creek was reported from Patriot Coal’s Kanawha Eagle Operation, which is located in eastern Kanawha County.

Ken Ward Jr. from the Charleston Gazette reports, “Dale Petry, director of emergency services for Kanawha County, said that an eight-inch slurry line between the preparation plant and the company’s refuse impoundment ruptured, sending an underdetermined amount of coal waste into the creek before the flow was stopped.’I would probably characterize it as a significant spill, but I don’t have a figure yet,” said Aluise, the DEP spokesman.’”

Patriot’s New West Hollow slurry impoundments (Photo: Bing maps)

For the entire article, click here.

The Appalachian Water Watch team is on its way to investigate the incident and will continue reporting what we find.

For the latest official reports and citizen reports, visit the Appalachian Water Watch system - a SkyTruth tool built for Appalachian Voices to track spills and empower citizens: 


Large Explosion in Western North Dakota

From Valley News Live -

State and local officials are investigating a large explosion and fire reported Monday night in western North Dakota.

Video of a large fire was posted on YouTube Tuesday morning.

The Williams County Sheriff's Department says, the incident happened south of Tioga at a well site near Highway 2 and County Road 21. It was reported about 8:30 Monday night.

The Tioga Fire Department responded to the scene.

So far there are no reports of injuries. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

SKYTRUTH NOTE: This alert is geotagged to what appears to be a compressor station which fits the above description. Additionally, two infrared detections were picked up within 750 meters from this facility by the VIIRS instrument aboard the Suomi NPP satellite. This is area that has not shown much flaring activity in recent months, so the detections could be associated with the fire and explosion.