Baby dolphins, some barely three feet in length, are washing up along the Mississippi and Alabama shorelines at about 10 times the normal number for the first two months of the year, researchers are finding.
As now February 17th, seventeen young dolphins, either aborted before they reached maturity or dead soon after birth, have been collected on the coasts of the states in the past two weeks, both on the barrier islands and mainland beaches.
This is the first birthing season for dolphins since the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; however, Moby Solangi, director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, said it’s too early to tell why they died.
Today the count is up to 24 stillborn or infant calves that have washed ashore in the two states.
What’s happening here falls under the formal designation of an Unusual Mortality Event, which requires special scrutiny by a panel of scientists and experts, and gives high priority to samples collected.
But scientists caution about jumping to conclusions because a number of factors can cause dolphin deaths.
We’ll be keep our eye on this story as it develops. Stay tuned.
The President’s Oil Spill Commission, who was charged with determining the cause of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and making recommendations to guard against future oilspills, released their report today.
The report is a scathing indictment of the industry for failing to have adequate response plans in place for rig blow outs and of the government for decades of lax oversight. The report makes it clear that the Deepwater Horizon spill is not an isolated incident, but the result of a systemic failure of the management and oversight of the offshore oil drilling industry.
Further, the report makes clear current practices put us in dire risk of another spill and calls for serious reform of the governments oversight of the oil industry. The report’s conclusions can be summarized in three broad categories: managerial foul-ups, systemic failure and regulatory weakness. The report also suggests that the liability cap for oil spills should be dramatically increased and that most of the mitigation funding for the spill go the Gulf for restoration.
A more thorough summary of the recommendations can be found here
The report makes it clear that Obama’s decision to prohibit leases in the continental US is a wise decision and is necessary to avoid another spill of this magnitude along our coasts.
The oil industry, its lobbyists and its Congressional allies are predictably furious at the Obama administration’s decision not to allow exploratory oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off the Atlantic coast. The decision was unquestionably the right one.
The industry and its well-paid allies say that delaying drilling will increase America’s dependence on foreign oil. That ignores a simple truth: A nation using one-quarter of the world’s oil while controlling only 3 percent of the world’s known reserves cannot drill its way to independence. The estimated 7.5 billion barrels the eastern gulf and Atlantic coast are thought to contain are just about what this country consumes in a year.