Yesterday marked the four year anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which is the largest spill in our nation’s history. Yet, this disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is nowhere near cleaned-up and the wildlife is still recovering. To make matter worse, BP is planning to start drilling in the region again as their ban on purchasing new oil and gas leases was removed last month.
• Over 900 bottlenose dolphins have been discovered dead or stranded in the spill area since April 2010
• Approximately 500 sea turtles have been found dead in the spill area every year
• Oysters had a lower reproduction rate in the northern Gulf
• Toxic oil compounds have been found in the blood of some coastal birds
• A chemical in oil has caused certain types of tuna to have irregular heartbeats, causing an increase in heart attacks and deaths
• More than 800 brown pelicans were exposed to oil and removed from the spill area, and nearly half of them died
• Higher levels of DNA-damaging metals, including nickel and chromium, have been found in sperm whales
Despite all of this troubling evidence that the Gulf is still being harmed by the company’s oil spill, last week BP irresponsibly announced that the Gulf clean-up effort was effectively over. That prompted an immediate rebuke from the Coast Guard’s Capt. Thomas Sparks, who made it clear that “This response is not over. Not by a long shot.” The Coast Guard will keep 15 investigators on Grand Isle to respond to any oil discovered. He also noted that they will pay close attention to the Middle Ground and Bay Jimmy areas in Barataria Bay as both areas had an immense amount of erosion. In these areas, oil sunk below the marsh making clean-up efforts even more difficult.
We still have a long way to go to clean up the Gulf. Yet, last month BP gained the rights to start drilling in the Gulf of Mexico again. In fact, they have already bid a total of $42 million to lease a part of the Gulf to start drilling for more oil. Given BP’s apparent desire to shirk its responsibility to fully clean up the Gulf, their return to the Gulf to drill once again is all the more worrying.
Click here to tell BP to finish cleaning up their oil spill!
(Photograph from Louisiana GOHSEP)