Animal welfare groups sue BP

2010-07-01 08:38

Animal welfare groups have sued BP for burning endangered sea

turtles and have asked a federal court to stop the oil giant’s “controlled

burns” on the Gulf of Mexico spill.

“It is horrifying that these innocent creatures whose habitat has

already been devastated by the oil spill are now being burned alive,” Cathy

Liss, the president of the Animal Welfare Institute, told the court in Louisiana

on Wednesday.

The lawsuit filed by the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for

Biological Diversity, Turtle Island Restoration Network and Animal Legal Defense

Fund said BP was violating the Endangered Species Act and other laws with its

“controlled burns” in the Gulf of Mexico.

They asked the court for a temporary restraining order to stop all

burning activities “until mechanisms are implemented that will prevent any

additional sea turtles from being burned alive”.

Containment efforts put in place since a BP-leased offshore oil rig

exploded on April 20, unleashing the worst oil spill in US history, include

“controlled burns”, in which oil is gathered by ship-towed floating booms and

set on fire.

“Endangered sea turtles, including the Kemp’s ridley, one of the

rarest sea turtles on earth, are caught in the gathered oil and unable to escape

when the oil is set ablaze,” said the animal welfare groups.

They said 430 sea turtles from endangered species have perished so

far in the oil spill.

“While cleaning up the catastrophic oil spill is critically

important, so too is doing it in a way that doesn’t destroy wildlife in a

flagrantly unlawful manner,” said Liss.

The groups suggested that BP remove all turtles from the oil

gathered for a controlled burn before setting the oil on fire.

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