NEW ORLEANS (CN) – The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico threatens the brown pelican’s recovery from “near-extinction,” yet neither the EPA “nor any other governmental entity has commenced or is diligently prosecuting a civil or criminal action in a court to redress the violations” of the Clean Water Act, the Center for Biological Diversity says. It wants BP and Transocean held liable for Clean Water Act violations and the costs of environmental remediation.
The Center says the State of Louisiana has identified 210 birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals likely to be affected by the spill, including about a dozen threatened and endangered species. Another 445 fish and invertebrate species will also be affected.
Oil “is washing ashore along the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida,” the complaint states. “Hundreds of dead birds, sea turtles, and dolphins are also being collected onshore. Meanwhile most of the harmful effects of the spill are out of sight beneath the sea surface,” and that the “die-off of wildlife in the Gulf’s marshes, beaches and coastal waters is expected to continue for months and possibly years.”
The oil is ruining “a fragile and productive ecosystem with diverse communities of fish and wildlife and home to several species of endangered whales, sea turtles, and sea birds. … (O)ver 100 million gallons of oil, toxic pollutants and other pollutants have been discharged into the Gulf of Mexico from the BP spill.”
The Center claims that “It is undisputed that responsibility for the oil spill rests primarily on BP … The oil and toxic pollutants flowing into the Gulf of Mexico are a plain violation of the Clean Water Act which is the nation’s strongest law protecting water quality.”
On May 22 reporters saw heavy oil coating a pelican colony near North Breton Island off the Louisiana Coast, and by June 7 heavy oil had soaked the Queen Bess Island pelican rookery, a nesting site that has been essential to the recovery of the brown pelican population.
“Experts worry that the spill could set back the Louisiana state bird’s recovery from near-extinction,” according to the complaint.
In addition to underwater plumes of oil stretching dozens of miles, researchers have also measured extremely high levels of methane that is spewing from the gushing well at up to 10,000 times background levels in Gulf waters, according to the complaint.
The Center wants BP ordered to pay for environmental restoration, and wants to see a complete list of the amounts of toxic pollutants contained in the oil and other chemicals. It is represented by Damon Kirin of Metairie.
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