From The Raw Story:

A rare and endangered species of sea turtle is being burned alive in BP’s controlled burns of the oil swirling around the Gulf of Mexico, and a boat captain tasked with saving them says the company has blocked rescue efforts.

Mike Ellis, a boat captain involved in a three-week effort to rescue as many sea turtles from unfolding disaster as possible, says BP effectively shut down the operation by preventing boats from coming out to rescue the turtles.

“They ran us out of there and then they shut us down, they would not let us get back in there,” Ellis said in an interview with conservation biologist Catherine Craig.

According to the article, most of the turtles they’ve been rescuing are Kemp’s Ridley, which is listed as endangered under the US’ Endangered Species Act. Under federal law, an act of “taking” (defined as harming, wounding, or killing) an endangered species can result in a maximum fine of up to $50,000 or imprisonment for one year, or both, and civil penalties of up to $25,000 PER VIOLATION.

But for some odd reason, I see a federal judge ruling that these deaths cannot be prosecuted because of the law’s “accidental killing during farming and ranching activities” exemption.

Michael suggests that, given the size of the fines BP could face as a result of the turtle deaths, the company may be happy to let turtles burn, as it would make it impossible to calculate exactly how many turtles died. He notes that the bodies of dead animals are being kept as evidence to determine how much in fines BP will be liable for.

“Is BP destroying evidence to keep their liability down?” he asks. “Is anyone going to stop them?”

Gregory Gadow

Gregory Gadow

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