The fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, which killed 11 workers and spilled millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, is rapidly approaching, and BP is pulling out all the stops to make it seem like the damage done by the spill has been fixed.
BP recently released its “State of the Gulf” report, suggesting that areas affected by the disaster are recovering and that data collected by the company “do not indicate a significant long-term impact to the population of any Gulf species.”
“This report, more so than any, shows that science is certain that this is a long-term problem,” said NWF scientist Ryan Fikes. “But it’s going to take even more time to understand the true magnitude of this.”
Included in the NWF’s report was:
- Dolphins on the Louisiana coast were found dead at four times historic rates in 2014, and there is increasing evidence that these ongoing deaths are connected to the oil spill.
- Prior to the spill, the number of endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nests found annually was increasing rapidly, but since 2010, the nests found annually have declined on average.
- Exposure to oil has been shown to cause abnormal development in many species of fish, including mahi mahi, Gulf killifish, and bluefin and yellowfin tuna
- Comprehensive modeling estimates that 12 percent of the brown pelicans and 32 percent of the laughing gulls in the northern Gulf died as a result of the oil spill.
- Coral colonies in five separate locations in the Gulf – three in the deep sea and two in shallow waters – are showing signs of oil damage.
BP, of course, is denying the NWF findings. A statement attributed to senior vice-president Geoff Morrell said, in part, “The [NWF] report is a work of political advocacy … the dire predictions made in 2010 have fortunately not come to pass.”
But, as The Guardian pointed out, much-less political groups like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association also feel that BP is being disingenuous about its recovery efforts, saying earlier this month that BP “misinterprets and misapplies data while ignoring published literature that doesn’t support its claims…”
“BP has has created long-lasting and deadly environmental disaster,” commented Brian Barr, a partner with the Levin Papantonio law firm and a member of the plaintiffs steering committee for the BP lawsuit. “People are still having to deal with the aftermath of the spill.”
“Wildlife from sperm whales to march ants are still feeling the effects of the disaster,” said Fikes. “but BP seems to prefer attacking scientists over accepting responsibility. It’s time for BP to quit stalling so we can start restoring the Gulf.”