NGA Facilities Operating Status »
Contact Us »

Navigate Up
NGA news image banner

Press Release 2013-02

NGA Celebrates Earth Day at Saratoga Elementary
April 17, 2013

Springfield, Va. – Subject matter experts from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA’s) Readiness, Response and Recovery group spoke to 100 students at Saratoga Elementary School about the impacts of oil spills on the environment. NGA's expertise was used to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in the cleanup of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in which a British Petroleum oil rig exploded and leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

Subject matter experts from NGA who were directly involved in the 2010 oil spill response taught fifth-grade students about the incident and the efforts that went into limiting its effects on the environment. Students participated in an interactive demonstration in which they used various types of containment mechanisms to simulate those employed during the 2010 spill. They viewed aerial photos of the containment methods used in the Gulf of Mexico and learned about what was involved in each method. They also learned how NGA helped the U.S. Coast Guard during the clean up.

NGA responds to what are referred to as SONS – spills of national significance – when called up by a lead federal agency. Following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig more than an estimated 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the gulf, resulting in a massive response to protect the natural resources surrounding the spill. The U.S. Coast Guard employed NGA’s geospatial expertise to assess the areas of concern for potential environmental impact, employ technology and analysis to help direct clean up efforts in the areas of the greatest need and provide safety of navigation during controlled burns.

Deepwater Horizon is cited as the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry. Third on the list of largest oil spills is a 1969 oil spill that occurred in Santa Barbara, California. The 1969 incident and its environmental impact became the inspiration for the U.S. Senator who conceptualized the first Earth Day in 1970.

About NGA
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency delivers world-class GEOINT –information about what is happening at any location on the Earth, why it is happening and what is likely to happen next – to provide a decisive advantage to policymakers, the U.S. military, intelligence professionals and first responders in support of national security. The agency is headquartered in Springfield, Va., and has two major locations in St. Louis and Arnold, Mo. NGA employees are also deployed around the world on support teams at U.S. military, diplomatic and allied locations. For more information about NGA, visit us on Facebook at or on Twitter at