The president’s expert commission released its final report this week calling for systematic reform to overhaul offshore oil drilling safety and environmental regulations, but they overlooked protective measures for sea turtles. During the BP spill, the Sea Turtle Restoration Project and allies forced BP to halt burning endangered sea turtles alive and forced independent wildlife observers trained in sea turtle rescue to be on all cleanup vessels.
Will Sea Turtles Be Burned Alive in the Next Oil Spill?
Unless Congress and President Obama take action to improve offshore oil regulations, we will re-live the tragedy of the BP spill and the horrific consequences of outright neglect of innocent marine life. Without strong public pressure, oil barons in Washington DC will continue their destructive and irresponsible actions.
A Sea Turtle Response and Rescue Plan Is Needed
The BP oil spill led to hundreds of endangered sea turtle deaths, but many more likely perished in the first weeks before any on-water rescue began. By August, rescue crews recovered more sea turtles in one week than they had found in two months! The lessons learned during the BP spill must be part of a permanent Sea Turtle Response and Rescue Plan for oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. We’re calling for action to achieve
Improved Oil Spill Response:
• Independent observers on all oil spill response vessels to record wildlife sightings;
• Sea turtle rescuers on all cleanup vessel teams;
• Establishment of a volunteer protocol for wildlife rescue assistance;
• Maintaining of an effective level of search effort for sea turtles and wildlife;
• Endangered species prioritized for rescue and rehabilitation;
• Chemical dispersants and “controlled burns” banned where endangered species are present.
Improved Oil Spill Restoration:
• Funds set aside specifically for restoration of sea turtle nesting beaches and nearshore habitat;
• Full cleanup of nesting beaches, oil free to a depth of 30 inches.
Improved Sea Turtle Protection from Oil and Gas:
• Avoidance of sea turtle breeding, foraging and migration habitat for any new or renewed oil drilling platforms;
• Establishment of protected swimways through the Gulf of Mexico where new oil and gas development is prohibited and existing operations phased out
Click here to learn more from our report Leading the Fight to Save Sea Turtles in the Gulf.
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