Dolphin Deaths Remain A Mystery Due To Federal Gag Order
From the original post: “According to the SunHerald.com, researchers from the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) are investigating a total of 28 adult and infant dolphin carcases since the first of the year. Of the 28, 18 were infant dolphins.”
At the time, dolphin birthing season had just begun, so it was somewhat normal for researchers to see stillborn calves–just not in such high numbers. Research agenices involved in the investigation weren’t sure what could be killing these young dolphins.
Now it seems that the public may never know.
On Friday, Reuters reported that “wildlife biologists contracted by the National Marine Fisheries Service to document spikes in dolphin mortality and to collect specimens and tissue samples for the agency were quietly ordered late last month to keep their findings confidential.”
Apparently, the government considers the dophin die-off, classified as an “unusual mortality event (UME),” as part of the federal criminal investigation into last summer’s catastrophic BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Because of the seriousness of the legal case, no data or findings may be released, presented or discussed outside the UME investigative team without prior approval,” the agency letter to scientists, obtained by Reuters, stated.
“The secrecy about baby dolphins dying in the Gulf makes no sense,” says Dr. Doug Inkley, the National Wildlife Federation’s senior scientist on the NWF blog. “The public deserves to know what’s happening and why.”
In a timely twist of fate, BP today published its first corporate sustainability report since the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
In it, the company refuses to even estimate how much oil its faulty well spilled into the Gulf over a period of months. As a result, the figures show BP spilling less oil in 2010 than in 2008, Fast Company reported.
BP claimed that figures for the Deepwater Horizon spill were omitted because of a lack of definitive figures.
“Although there are several third-party estimates of the flow rate or total volume of oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon incident, we believe that no accurate determination can be made or reported until further information is collected and the analysis, such as the condition of the blowout preventer, is completed,” the report said (via Environmental Leader).
That statement seems more like clever public relations speak intended to distance the company from the disaster, and avoid all responsibility for restoration and damages.
Too bad, BP. WE WILL NEVER FORGET!
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Image Credit: Flickr - Jesslee Cuizon