|Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Site |
(Photo credit: Green Fire Productions)
The peer-reviewed paper, which was disputed by BP BP.LN +1.07% PLC, was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The paper makes the strongest connection to date between the BP spill and dolphin deaths, which jumped in the Gulf of Mexico after the spill.
"It is related to oil," said Lori Schwacke, the study's lead author and a wildlife epidemiologist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The weight of evidence is there."
BP, which paid for the study, disputes that it shows a clear link between the spill and dolphin illnesses. NOAA "still hasn't provided BP with any data demonstrating that the alleged poor health of any dolphins was caused by oil exposure," said BP spokesman Jason Ryan in an email.
The study was released the same morning a federal jury in New Orleans convicted an engineer who worked for BP in 2010 of destroying evidence about the oil spill. Prosecutors argued that the engineer, Kurt Mix, deleted hundreds of text messages to try to hide evidence that the company knew more oil was leaking than it had revealed publicly. Read more >>