Today, Defenders of Wildlife and the Southern Environmental Law Center notified BP that they would file suit against the company for the unauthorized take of endangered species caused by the continuing oil spill and use of dispersants. The oil gushing from BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig directly imperils 32 threatened or endangered species such as the sperm whale, gulf sturgeon, manatee and five kinds of sea turtles (leatherback, loggerhead, green, hawksbill, and Kemp’s ridley), as well as the waters, coastal wetlands and National Wildlife Refuges that many of these species call home. Endangered species are also adversely affected by the chemical dispersants BP has applied to the Gulf in response to the continued release of oil resulting from the Deepwater Horizon blowout.
Mike Senatore, vice president for Conservation Law at Defenders of Wildlife said, “BP must be held accountable for the grave threat posed to sea turtles, whales, seabirds and other endangered wildlife as the result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Not only does the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico pose an immediate and long-term threat to endangered wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, but the company’s unprecedented application of chemical dispersants poses additional risks.”