No “Smoking Gun” for Killer Oil

Turtle_Rescue_and_RehabilitationIn June 2010, a little over a month after the BP oil spill began in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had counted more than 200 dead sea turtles and 20 dead dolphins washed up on the Gulf’s beaches. In this piece for Science magazine, I reported on the forensic science required to link these deaths to the oil, as well as the legal impact of that science:

As turtle and dolphin corpses wash up on Gulf of Mexico beaches, scientists face a sleuthing challenge worthy of CSI: determining whether oil had a hand in the deaths.

In addition to rescuing and cleaning oiled animals, NOAA is simultaneously gathering evidence for the government’s Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), the estimate of a humanmade disaster’s environmental impact that ultimately goes to court. Animals that died from exposure to oil factor into that estimate…

Keep reading (subscription required) at Science magazine.

To download a PDF of the article, click here (password required.)

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