As we reach the 3-month mark since the BP oil spill began gushing millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico, fears continue to mount as to whether an effective fix will occur anytime soon. Hundreds of species of wildlife and eco-systems have already been affected, including sea turtles that reside in the Gulf.
Fortunately, a new agreement was reached yesterday to advance saving sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico. Conservation groups, British Petroleum and the U.S. Coast Guard have joined forces to help rescue turtles in the region so severely impacted by this environmental disaster.
According to a Reuters report, the Center for Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Animal Welfare Institute and Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit seeking a restraining order against BP. In order to settle the suit, BP agreed to work with the Coast Guard to help prevent sea turtles from burns or death resulting from lighting the floating oil on the surface of the Gulf.
The agreement requires development of a protocol to ensure that endangered sea turtles will not be killed during so-called “burn containment practices.” Despite this assurance, wildlife conservation groups wish to witness every burn to make sure that the protocol will be followed and sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico will be saved.
As it struggles to address the impacts of the Gulf oil spill, BP has been corralling the oil with booms and lighting the oil on fire to burn it off. Until now, some endangered sea turtles have been caught in the corrals and inadvertently burned.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity, 594 sea turtles are known to have died as a result of the oil spill as of July 1, 2010.