Data Sources

Drilling Information

Information pertaining to natural gas and oil wells, including drilling permits, drilling starts ("spuds"), and other alert-worthy events, are downloaded from the state agencies that make those data publicly available:

Pollution Reports

NRC - Reports of oil and hazardous materials spills and related incidents are downloaded daily from the National Response Center (NRC), the nation's official site for polluters, responders and concerned citizens to report such incidents. We encourage anyone who may have witnessed an oil or hazmat spill to immediately file an accurate report with the NRC, including a latitude/longitude location.  Most of the pollution incidents shown on these maps are derived from the NRC, and involve a variety of causes and materials. Only some of these incidents are related to oil and gas production and transportation.  We do not display all of the reports published by the NRC; many lack adequate information to put them on a map. The filter we apply to the NRC reports is as follows:

1. Eliminate any report that cannot be assigned a geographic location.  

2. Reports which can be located are placed on the map using the best location information available, starting from the top of the following list and proceeding down until a location can be determined:
  • Explicit lat/long given in the report
  • Lease block id given (offshore) - location used is the centroid of the the lease block
  • Street address - we use Google Maps to geocode the street address if given.  If Google can geocode it then we use it.  Sometimes this is just a point on the road, and we do not know where the precise street address is
  • Zip code - if given, we use the centroid of the zip code
  • City and State - as a last ditch effort, we use the center point of the city as given by Google Maps
3. Eliminate non- reports.  Some NRC reports are marked "This is a Drill" so we eliminate those.  We also eliminate "ATON Battery" reports which have to do with batteries housed in lighted buoys that the Coast Guard maintains.

4. Eliminate non-release reports.  Some reports are safety reports (e.g reports of trespassers in railway yards) that do not involve a release of any material.

NOAA - Oil spills and other incidents where the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Response and Restoration provided scientific support to the response effort.

SkyTruth - Brief reports written by SkyTruth for oil spills and other incidents where we've conducted our own investigations or analyses, usually involving the use of satellite imagery or other remote-sensing data.