5 Sources for Tracking the Oil Spill on Twitter this Summer

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has dominated the news since the drilling rig explosion on April 20. The most newsworthy – and most discouraging – element of the oil disaster? The fact that the spill is ongoing, which makes Twitter the best way to keep up with all the latest developments. Here are five of the best twitter accounts to follow through the disaster.


OilSpillNews, sponsored by the Gannett media company, tweets general news items every few hours about developments related to the spill. Some recent tweets have been “Relief wells making progress, but BP already working on backup plan” and “Little oil, but no crowds on Pensacola Beach.” The feed, which is useful for a general overview of both progress and decline in the Gulf, has 1,834 followers and 642 tweets on the spill so far.


With an environmental focus, EPAgov allows followers to track not just the oil spill, but all of the Environmental Protection Agency’s interests. The most informative part of these tweets? The fact that nine out of the last 10 of them have related to the Gulf disaster. Tweets also regularly redirect visitors to the Deepwater Horizon Response web site when updates are available. EPAgov now has 10,737 followers and has written 2,672 tweets on EPA interests.


NWF (National Wildlife Federation) follows the oil spill from a conservationist perspective, often including facts and figures on how the surge of oil is affecting the animal life in its path. Followers can expect tweets like “BP, Government downplaying health risks of #oilspill with shocking photos” (with a link to this Huffington Post article) and “Thousands of dead fish turn up in/near Lake Pontchartrain — investigation underway.” NWF currently has 31,781 followers and 4,059 save-the-animals tweets.


GOHSEP (Louisiana’s Governer’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness) largely updates followers on relief efforts and resources, but also offers a useful glimpse of what is happening on the ground with the state-level response. A lot of the tweets are relatively useless (Need help because of the #oilspill? Visit Louisiana’s resources directory online”), but several of them dish out interesting information you might not get in a general news article (“Louisiana requests $10 million from @BP_America for mental health services for those affected by #oilspill”). GOHSEP has 2,317 followers and 1,409 tweets to date.


BP_America‘s account provides mostly technical and economic updates on the spill. The upshot of looking at the page of the culprits themselves? Their tweets (like “Claims Update: 52,500 checks totaling $165M issued to date. 36th claims office opened in Key Largo, FL yesterday”) tend to come at least every hour, and you can be one of the 16,809 people scrutinizing their every move. Unlike on the fake BP twitter account, followers can practically smell BP’s eagerness to get on our good side (like in the BP CEO’s YouTube apology) in each of their 1,002 tweets so far.