Ensuring endangered sea turtles are accounted for and protected during future oil spill responses and during the current Gulf of Mexico restoration efforts is a top priority for our staff in all offices.
At the hallmark one-year anniversary, we compiled an Environmental Report Card detailing the failures of federal agencies to update regulations or create new laws to ensure endangered sea turtles gain increased protections, that habitat restoration funds are secure, and that another catastrophic oil spill can be prevented.
Letters sent to President Barack Obama, heads of federal agencies, Coast Guard sector commanders, and sector oil spill wildlife teams across the nation have called for immediate action to overhaul offshore oil environmental safety regulations and begin immediate habitat restoration. Over seventy targets have received the letter, which calls for immediate on-water rescue of sea turtles in an oil spill, independent wildlife observers and sea turtle rescue teams on oil cleanup vessels, banning chemical dispersants and controlled burns from available oil spill cleanup resources, and calling for an overhaul of offshore oil regulations to better protect sea turtles.
Click here to download the letter demanding improved oil spill responses to save sea turtles.
This effort is augmented by our comments to improve offshore oil regulations through an improved Environmental Impact Statement in preparation by the new regulatory agency the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement (BOEMRE). The Sea Turtle Restoration Project staff and volunteers will be testifying at public meetings this week throughout the Gulf on the new BOEMRE policies taking shape.
Our research found serious flaws in the previous Biological Opinion by the National Marine Fisheries Service that allowed offshore oil operations to kill endangered sea turtles. The BP oil spill has proven their calculations were grossly underestimated. Their maximum prediction was for one Kemp's ridley adult sea turtle to die in the largest oil spill over the next 40 years! Sadly, 473 were found dead during the BP spill last summer.
Read Sea Turtle Restoration Project's environmental scoping comments to BOEMRE here.
Click here read the Sea Turtle Restoration Project's summary and conclusion on the old, flawed Biological Opinion.
Click here to download the entire Biological Opinion from NMFS.
We continue to negotiate with the U.S. Coast Guard to improve their Area and Regional Contingency Plans for offshore oil spill responses so they incorporate lessons learned during the BP spill of 2010. We have petitioned for a new rulemaking process to ensure necessary changes are implemented nationwide, and are also working at the local and regional level to campaign for improvements. Click here to read all our specific requests, including the mandatory use of independent wildlife observers and a ban on chemical dispersants and oil burning where endangered species are present.
Join us today! We are the leading organization advocating and achieving change for endangered sea turtles and marine life in the Gulf, both during and after the BP oil spill.