Most of the press regarding the ongoing Gulf of Mexico oil disaster (the impacts are still unfolding) focuses on blaming British Petroleum, which isn’t unreasonable, but it is obscuring the fact the US federal government has played a significant role, and still is.
Recently it was reported that the federal government is suppressing information related to the very unusual spike in Gulf dolphin deaths. Researchers hired as contractors for the federal government objected to the way they were told to keep quiet about their discoveries when they were collecting dead dolphins and studying them for oil contamination.
Trying to block dolphin death information so that it isn’t circulated in the press and the public discourse is bad enough, but now the federal government is returning weakened dolphins found stranded to deeper Gulf waters, without allowing them to be studied to discover the cause of all the sudden dolphin deaths. So why push some weakened stranded dolphins back into deeper Gulf waters without studying them first in order to help determine the reasons for their illness and deaths?
As Reuters reported, “Moby Solangi, director for the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies in Mississippi, said returning the dolphins to deeper waters also was undermining efforts to determine who is responsible for the rash of sea animal deaths in Gulf waters.” (Source: Reuters.com)
Between February 2010 and April 2011, 406 dolphins were found dead or stranded, according to CNN. In the last three months as many as 200 have been found dead on the shores of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi.
A government official said, “A year after the oil spill, we are still seeing dolphins washing ashore with evidence of oil on them — but it may not be the cause of death.” (Source: uk.ibtimes.com)
Is it just more government ineptitude we are seeing, or is there some intention to confuse the situation further, by studying some dolphins but not others, meanwhile suppressing information about the ones that are studied? It seems politics could be a deciding factor, as the current White House administration has much to lose if it becomes public knowledge the government played a role in suppressing information about oil dolphin deaths–especially since they declared many months ago that most of the oil had simply disappeared.
Image Credit: National Wildlife Federation