BP Settlement Claims

Environmental News of the BP Oil Spill

Previously unreleased photographs show impact of BP oil on endangered sea turtles

May 7, 2012, 9:21 am

By Brian Vastag

Previously unreleased photographs from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico show boxes and bags full of oil-covered and dead endangered sea turtles and a group of sperm whales swimming through an oil sheen.

The photographs were obtained by the environmental group Greenpeace through a Freedom of Information Act request sent to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in July 2010.

John Hocevar, Greenpeace’s director of ocean campaigns, said the photographs paint a more dire picture of the effects of the spilled oil on endangered species than federal agencies presented during the disaster.

“We were seeing so many pictures and stories of turtles that were scrubbed clean and released back into the wild [in 2010]. The emphasis was on rescue,” Hocevar said. “At the same time, they had all these shocking pictures of dead turtles, turtles in garbage bags, turtles in boxes that present a very different image of the impacts of the disaster.”

Attempts to reach three NOAA officials Sunday for a response were unsuccessful.

Most of the oiled and dead turtles in the pictures appear to be Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, which the United States lists as endangered.

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