It’s been 70 days since the Gulf oil spill began. Tens of millions of gallons have leaked from BP’s runaway well, located 40 miles off Louisiana’s coast and 5,000 feet beneath the surface. Here’s the latest on wildlife rescue efforts, concerns about chemical dispersants, and Nigeria’s ire over the oil spill double standard.
Makeshift Migratory Bird Habitat
The federal government announced on Monday that it will pay landowners to flood low-lying lands in Gulf Coast states from Texas to Florida to create alternative resting and wintering grounds for migratory birds. Up to $20 million has been allocated for the initiative, which aims to attract birds to the safe havens before they reach oiled beaches and marshes. The gulf region sits beneath one of the world's major migratory flyways, with about 1 billion birds from more than 300 species passing through annually, Greg Butcher, director of bird conservation for the Audubon, told the L.A. Times. "None of this is guaranteed to work," Butcher said. "We're expecting that this will work at least a little bit. We're hoping that it'll help a lot."
Wildlife experts are getting ready to remove tens of thousands of endangered sea turtle eggs from 700-800 nests in Alabama and northwestern Florida, and truck them hundreds of miles to Atlantic Coast. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Charles Underwood told Reuters that it’s an unprecedented effort. "Relocating sea turtle nests on occasion, nest by nest, in very small numbers, has been done before (but) nothing has even been considered at this massive scale," Underwood told Reuters. "It's never been attempted anywhere in the world." Officials are focusing their efforts on loggerhead turtles, the most prevalent of five species of threatened or endangered sea turtles in the Gulf. Click here for more on how the spill is affecting turtles.
For more on the possible impacts of dispersants on marine life, On Earth has an interview with marine toxicologist Susan Shaw, who is calling for the Obama administration to halt BP's use of Corexit—or any other dispersant—in response to the BP oil spill.
|"It's funny because we've been dealing with this problem for 50 years. I even heard BP will pay $20 billion in damages (for the U.S. spill). When will such hope come to the Niger Delta?" asked Ken Tebe, a local environmental activist. The U.S. imports about eight percent of its oil from Nigeria. That is nearly half of Nigeria's daily oil production and makes Nigeria the fifth-largest exporter of oil to the United States.|