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Public outcry and concerns over the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that occurred in April 2010 have largely dissipated, even though much of the oil itself and the many adverse effects of that event have certainly not.

The impacts of this spill, which occurred now seven years ago, have been calamitous at best and continue to mount. Over the 87-day period in which the leak occurred, thousands of marine animals were killed, and among those were many a bottlenose dolphin. Tragically, the numbers of these dolphins have been reduced by half, and according to researchers at St. Andrews, it will take 40 years for that population to recover.

Dolphins in the Gulf region represent 30 percent of all U.S. dolphin populations, and scientists have found that a full quarter of the remaining bottlenoses in the area are now underweight and “in poor or grave condition.” Unusually high numbers of dolphins in the Barataria Bay area are suffering from moderate to severe lung disease and adrenal disease. Liver disease, pneumonia, and hormonal imbalances are now common throughout the region, all of which may explain why dolphin strandings around the Gulf, including those of newborns, have also been unusually high.

“Despite all the uncertainties, it is clear that many populations of marine mammal were badly affected by the oil spill, and that these negative effects will persist for many years into the future,” Dr Len Thomas, director of the Centre for Research into Ecological and Environmental Modelling (CREEM) at St Andrews, said.

Our dependence on oil is at the root of this suffering, and it is certainly not confined to this one incident, nor just to this region. Arctic marine life is also experiencing extreme difficulties due to oil exploration, and oil spills across the country are devastating our wildlife, public lands, and water quality. Just this December, 176,000 gallons of crude oil spewed from a ruptured pipeline near Belfield, North Dakota, the effects of which will be felt for many years to come. Meanwhile, the White House is greenlighting more drilling and pipeline projects, despite environmental reports that stress the many risks involved.

Public health, human rights, and environmental conservation must take precedence over oil and gas industry profits, and it’s become very clear that this will not take place under the current administration if we the people don’t take a stand by:

  • Signing this petition urging Congress to uphold public health and environmental safeguards
  • Standing with Standing Rock and demanding that work on the Dakota Access Pipeline be stopped
  • Supporting organizations that are working to end offshore drilling
  • Eliminating, or at least greatly minimizing, our consumption of all oil and gas products, including plastics

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Image source: Tory Kallman/Shutterstock

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