tagged w/ Turtles
Your favorite turtles are back and just a little bit older! Watch them battle it out with twenty-something problems like unemployment, going back to school and meeting up with old friends and seeing what they've been up to. What could go wrong?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcWNgnEsTUkYour favorite turtles are back and just a little bit older! Watch them battle it out... more
Goats Help Save Turtles (VIDEO)
posted by: Cris Popenoe
While building a highway bypass, Maryland highway officials made a great discovery. In the mud of a scruffy, brush-covered, 8-acre plot, workers found endangered bog turtles inhabiting the land. Ordinarily, heavy machinery and herbicides would be brought in to clear the area.
The problem: how to cut back the vegetation without harming the turtles?
The answer: invite a local farmer to bring in his herd of goats during the warm weather season to keep the land clear for the bog turtles.
With this softer, gentler solution, everybody wins: the turtles, the farmer, the state and the environment.Goats Help Save Turtles (VIDEO) posted by: Cris Popenoe While building a... more
Are chicken eggs not good enough to eat now?
Are these people just desperate for food or greedy for money?
The Turtle eggs are stolen to be sold.
shame Costa Rica.Are chicken eggs not good enough to eat now? Are these people just desperate for... more
Amazing Video Report from CNN's Randi Kaye, Including Interactive Maps of Oil's Activity, iReport Videos, and MoreCrews connecting oil vessel to ruptured well
By the CNN Wire Staff
July 6, 2010 9:11 p.m. EDT
(CNN) -- Crews are in the process of connecting the vessel Helix Producer to the ruptured oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, said the man leading the federal response to the Gulf oil disaster. The hookup has been partially completed despite rough seas.
The vessel should draw up to 53,000 barrels of oil a day when it becomes operational, newly retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Tuesday afternoon in Houston, where he traveled to meet with BP officials. He also said progress continues to be made on two relief wells.
Despite rough weather in the Gulf of Mexico, Allen believes that the placement of a new containment cap and the deployment of key air and sea resources will eventually stop the massive amounts of oil now gushing from the well.
Once the Helix Producer is fully connected to the well and operational, officials will decide within 10 days whether to proceed with replacing the containment cap, Allen said.
Federal estimates say between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels (about 1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons) of oil have been gushing into the Gulf daily since April 22, when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank in the Gulf, two days after it exploded in flames.
High seas continue to hamper cleanup efforts. Allen said officials are closely watching a weather system near the Yucatan Peninsula.
Allen is meeting with BP in Houston about several "significant" developments. "You can't be successful if you can't coordinate, collaborate and integrate together," he said.
Allen told CNN earlier Tuesday that officials will be monitoring weather patterns to determine if and when they would try to install the cap, a process that will involve unbolting the jagged edge that exists on the structure now. Once completed, the new containment cap, he said, will achieve a perfect seal and keep oil from escaping.
Allen said the new cap "would let us get to a capture rate of 80,000 barrels a day." Crews currently are capturing up to 26,000 barrels a day.
Another tool in the effort to contain and stop the oil flow is a relief well that is "very close" to being completed, Allen told CNN, guessing it will be ready sometime in early or mid-August. Over the next week, relief well rig workers will drill 100 feet at a time until they can intercept the wellbore at just the right place, he added.
In early June, during an exclusive 48-hour embed with Allen, CNN's Kyra Phillips visited the site of the oil disaster and gained access to the Development Driller III -- the rig that is drilling the primary relief well some 16,000 to 18,000 feet below the sea floor.
"The intention is to intercept the wellbore, well down below the surface near the reservoir, then pump heavy mud in to counteract the pressure of the oil coming up," he told her. "That will allow them to basically plug or kill the well. Once that's done, you could do things like remove the blowout preventer, bring it to the surface and try to find out what happened."
Also, a massive airship, or blimp, and a ship that can suck oil out of the ruptured well are expected to arrive in the Gulf region at the end of the week to aid in oil disaster response efforts. Their arrival is being delayed because of rough weather, said Stephanie Hebert, spokeswoman for the cleanup effort.
The U.S. Navy airship will be used to detect oil, direct skimming ships and look for wildlife that may be threatened by oil, the Coast Guard says. It had been scheduled to reach the Gulf on Tuesday. The 178-foot-long blimp, known as the MZ-3A, can carry a crew of up to 10. It will fly slowly over the region to track where the oil is flowing and how it is coming ashore.
The Navy says the advantage of the blimp over current helicopter surveillance operations is that it can stay aloft longer, with lower fuel costs, and can survey a wider area.
The Coast Guard has already been pinpointing traveling pools of oil from the sky.
"The aircraft get on top of the oil. They can identify what type of oil it is and they can vector in the skimmer vessels right to the spot," Coast Guard Capt. Brian Kelley said.
But the problem since last Wednesday has been the ability to clean it up before it approaches land. Bad weather has made that task more difficult.
Tammy Mitchell of the Unified Command's Joint Information Center in Houma, Louisiana, said she believes no skimmers, aerial dispersants or onshore activity were deployed or operated Tuesday in Louisiana because of the weather. Teams are on a 48- to 72-hour standby watch because of the weather.
Poor conditions also canceled a boat tour for BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles, although he did manage to meet with workers.
Suttles said improvements have been made in cleanup operations. "The program will more effectively deploy boats to oil recovery activity and better utilize local commercial and charter fishing vessels to advance the effectiveness of the Gulf of Mexico response."
Meanwhile, Bob Grantham, spokesman for TMT Offshore Group, said progress has been made in testing the company's A Whale oil skimmer, the world's largest.
The delay from high seas "has allowed us to make valuable observations and to develop some additional technological innovations designed to improve the channeling of oily water into the ship's large capacity tanks," Grantham said in a statement issued Tuesday. "Over the next few days, we will have our first real opportunity to test the new technology under conditions that we hope will maximize the effectiveness of collection and ultimately decanting."
Earlier, officials said A Whale's abilities so far are "inconclusive," meaning the massive converted oil tanker -- which is 3.5 football fields long -- has yet to prove its Taiwanese owner's claim that it can skim between 15,000 and 50,000 barrels of oil off the sea in a day.
The Coast Guard said the testing period for the A Whale has been extended through Thursday.
So far, crude oil floating in the sea has not been concentrated enough for A Whale to skim effectively, according to oil company BP, even though it appears the ship has been surrounded by pools of oil just a few miles from the gusher.
"We've got oil coming up from over a mile below the surface. And it doesn't always come up in one spot. It's not always predictable. So, in fact, we need to locate the oil first, and then assign the ship to the areas of heaviest concentration," BP spokesman Hank Garcia said.
Bad weather has hindered cleanup efforts, he said. "When you've got 6-foot, 8-foot seas, it's not going to lend itself to good capture of the oil."
On Monday, authorities said tar balls linked to the crude gushing from BP's ruptured deepwater well had reached Louisiana's Lake Pontchartrain and hit the beaches near Galveston, Texas.
The Coast Guard reported over the weekend that a shift in weather patterns could send more oil toward sensitive shores in Mississippi and Louisiana, and bad weather over the past few days has significantly hampered cleanup efforts.
Anne Rheams, executive director of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, said Monday that the pattern was expected to persist for at least three more days.
The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday afternoon that a low-pressure area located near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in the southern Gulf of Mexico was producing showers and thunderstorms, but it was not likely to develop into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours. A system that had hovered over the Louisiana coast Tuesday morning moved inland.
CNN's Allan Chernoff contributed to this report.Crews connecting oil vessel to ruptured well By the CNN Wire Staff July 6, 2010 9:11... more
BP, Coast Guard Will Save Turtles From Oil Burns
July 02, 2010, 2:46 PM EDT
(Updates with burned oil in 11th paragraph.)
By Laurel Brubaker Calkins and Allen Johnson Jr.
July 2 (Bloomberg) --
BP Plc and the U.S. Coast Guard have reached an agreement to end the inadvertent killing of endangered sea turtles trapped inside containment booms during controlled burns of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, lawyers said.
“We’ve agreed to meet to work out the terms to make sure the turtles are protected,” Jason Burge, a lawyer for several environmental groups suing to protect the sea turtles, told U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier at an emergency hearing today in New Orleans federal court.
Details will be fleshed out over the weekend so that protections may be in place by the time controlled burns are set to resume on July 6, the lawyers told Barbier. The wildlife groups withdrew their request for a temporary restraining order blocking the burns, on the condition they may renew the request later if the turtle-rescue settlement falls apart.
Burge told Barbier oil-spill clean-up crews have suspended controlled burns because of bad weather caused by Hurricane Alex, the first tropical storm to enter the Gulf of Mexico this year, which slammed into northern Mexico on June 30.
William Eubanks, who also represents the wildlife groups, said in an interview outside the New Orleans courtroom that the activists want to include “qualified observers, like a biologist or a sea turtle researcher” to accompany crews conducting the burns. These trained personnel can spot and safely remove any sea turtles trapped within containment booms.
Don Haycraft, BP’s lead lawyer in New Orleans spill-related litigation, said the company will work with the Coast Guard and environmentalists to achieve a mutual goal.
“This effort is an example of BP and the government and the outside parties reaching a common agreement on an issue -- protecting sea turtles -- that is important to everyone,” Haycraft said.
Environmental groups sued BP and the Coast Guard on June 30, seeking to block the use of controlled burns or require all boats involved in the process to rescue turtles from inside floating burn boxes before the oil is ignited.
“BP has already killed or otherwise harmed” hundreds of rare Kemp’s Ridley, Leatherback, Loggerhead and other species of endangered sea turtles through its use of controlled burns or as a result of contamination from the oil spill itself, the lawsuit claims. The animals become trapped when shrimp boats encircle patches of floating oil with fire-resistant booms to create “burn boxes” 60 to 100 feet in diameter, they said.
Swim to Safety
In affidavits filed with the lawsuit, boat captains and turtle rescue workers said they’ve saved numerous sea turtles that were trapped in heavy oil accumulations. Many of these rescued turtles were scooped from sludge floating in the same areas where trawlers were corralling crude for controlled burns. The turtles are too heavily oiled to free themselves from the sludge and swim to safety, although out of the oil they respond well to rehabilitation, the witnesses said.
BP and the Coast Guard estimate that 9.9 million gallons of crude oil recovered from the Deepwater Horizon well have been burned as of July 1, according to a statement on the joint command’s web site.
The wildlife activists added the Coast Guard to the lawsuit after BP said all company clean up and containment activities, including the controlled burns, are being carried out under Coast Guard orders.
BP has yet to contain a damaged underwater well that has been spewing as much as 60,000 barrels of crude oil daily off the Louisiana coast since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig burned and sank in April.
The case is Animal Welfare Institute v. BP America Inc. et al, 2:10-cv-01866, U.S. District Courts, Eastern District of Louisiana (New Orleans).
--Editors: John Pickering
http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/esa_works/gallery/images2/Kemp%27s-Ridley-sea-turtle-USFWS.jpgBloomberg Businessweek BP, Coast Guard Will Save Turtles From Oil Burns July 02,... more
Always staying ahead of the news and ahead of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, WHACKO-TV sent Wolf Douglas down to examine the beaches on the east coast of Florida. What he finds there, might surprise you. We are just worried about his mini-bar use at the hotel.Always staying ahead of the news and ahead of the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico,... more
A worker uses a shovel to remove an oil glob from the beach Thursday, July 1, in Biloxi, Mississippi.GETTY IMAGES A worker uses a shovel to remove an oil glob from the beach Thursday,... more
This was the most emotionally disturbing video I have ever done!
A flight over the BP Slick Source where I saw at least 100 Dolphins in the oil, some dying. I also photographed a Sperm Whale covered in oil all around it's blow hole.
Please spread this around the world. Send me any links to places it gets posted so I can follow.
I want to piss off the world. Who will answer for these gentle creatures?This was the most emotionally disturbing video I have ever done!
A flight over the BP Slick Source where I saw at least 100 Dolphins in the oil, some dying. I also photographed a Sperm Whale covered in oil all around it's blow hole.
Please spread this around the world. Send me any links to places it gets posted so I can follow.
I want to piss off the world. Who will answer for these gentle creatures?This was the most emotionally disturbing video I have ever done! A flight over the BP... more
At first, I couldn't "feel" this video, but when it came time to look at some of our friends who are suffering, or who have died, this really got to me.
This...all because of greed.At first, I couldn't "feel" this video, but when it came time to look... more
Mike Ellis is a boat captain who's been rescuing the endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtles near Deepwater Horizon. He's got some pretty horrifying news to share: BP is burning turtles caught in the oil spill and turning away rescue workers who want to save them.Mike Ellis is a boat captain who's been rescuing the endangered Kemp's... more
Added On June 25, 2010
An army of volunteers readies to help animals as oil approaches Florida's coast.
CNN's Tom Foreman reports.Added On June 25, 2010 An army of volunteers readies to help animals as oil... more
By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN
June 21 2010 4:30pm EDT
Photo: Stephanie Neumann holds a Northern Gannet
Okaloosa Island, Florida - Vacationers were the first to notice the bird fumbling in the water near this popular tourist beach last week. He bobbed and swayed differently than other birds, and didn't react when humans came dangerously close. Once he was ashore, they could see why: a light sheen of oil covered his feathers.
Animal health technician Stephanie Neumann tried to rescue the Northern Gannet, but beach safety officers stopped her. Her coworkers at the Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge already had stabilized birds and a sea turtle affected by the Gulf oil disaster, but officials wanted to know: Did she have a contract with BP? Could she - and the bird - wait while they verified her organization's status?
"They're trying to do their job," Neumann said as she crouched over the motionless bird, wrapped in a white sheet and barely hidden from the stares of kids and parents. "They have to make sure protocol is followed."
When brown clumps of tar began to wash up on the snow-white beaches around Destin last week, the mood in this sunny beach community shifted from optimistic denial to furious worry. Local ideas about how to protect the area clashed with plans from BP, state and federal agencies. Community volunteers struggling to cut through protocol cheered a decision by Okaloosa County to defy BP and the feds. They were done waiting. They'd use their own plans.
"This is ridiculous. We'll take the heat. We would do whatever it took to stop the oil," said the county commission chairman, Wayne Harris.
After months of wrangling with agencies responding to the spill, Harris wasn't willing to stake the county's ecology and economy only on boom that captures or absorbs oil. The commission authorized emergency management teams to add skimmers, barges and extra boom, and an air wall they hope will push the oil away. They plan to layer prevention measures in the pass that connects the Gulf to Choctawhatchee Bay, where fresh and salt water mix and dolphins play. Harris said the plan could cost up to $6 million per month, which he hopes will be covered by money from BP.
The county developed its oil plan in the days after the disaster began to unfold, but it was plagued by miscommunications, disagreements and bureaucracy once it left local hands, Harris said.
Communities along the Gulf Coast have made similar complaints. Mayors grilled a BP official about the response during a press conference earlier this month. In Magnolia Springs, Alabama, locals went outside the federal plan and risked incarceration by adding boom and barges to protect Weeks Bay. In Pointe Aux Chenes, Louisiana, Native Americans pitched in to string boom near an island where many of their ancestors are buried.
Harris said some of his county's efforts may work; others may not. "Doing something is better than doing nothing," he said.
On the Okaloosa Island beach, local response to the oiled Gannet was quicker, but the federal response had less red tape to work through. U.S. Fish and Wildlife workers arrived before Neumann's status was verified, so she left their bird in their care.
"Time is essential with these guys," she said. "Every minute counts."
For the rest of Okaloosa County, more boom and barges were starting to appear in the water. The county commission vote was "smart," and sped up the state and federal response, said public safety director Dino Villani, who was quickly invited to an "olive branch" meeting in Mobile. Most of the county's preferred plans are moving forward, Villani said, and they'll continue to adapt as the oil moves throughout their waters.
Harris said the plans would have gone forward even without approval from BP or other government agencies.
"I'm sure they're cussing. I'm sure they're cussing us bad," Harris said. "If we had waited, we'd still be waiting. Why did it take us giving an ultimatum?"
Charles Diorio, a Coast Guard commander in Mobile, said some communities decided to implement their own plans once they saw they didn't top the list of state and federal priorities, if they were on the list at all. Some just wanted to act before the mess - and response agencies' attention - began to move their way.
Now that oil is reaching Florida's shores, resources are shifting there, Diorio said, and there's a plan to meet with Okaloosa commissioners this week.
"Now is the time to make sure these relationships are still working and strong and the lines of communication are open," he said.
CONTINUED...PART ONE...... more
Venice, Louisiana, Boat Captain - Interview by Catherine Craig
http://www.youtube.com/user/catherinec8Venice, Louisiana, Boat Captain - Interview by Catherine Craig... more
See also, controlled burns are another death trap for gulf wildlife - BP's 'burn boxes" torching live sea turtles & other sea life http://goo.gl/tbhF
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-turtles-oil-spill-pictures,0,304027.photogallerySee also, controlled burns are another death trap for gulf wildlife - BP's... more
I hope this video inspires people to help clean up the gulf of mexico, Educate themselves and others so disasters like this one will never happen again, and to inspire the idea of energy independence.I hope this video inspires people to help clean up the gulf of mexico, Educate... more
Momma Turtle Conquers Oil
5 hours ago | Orange Beach, Alabama | Vetting explained
CNN producer note
SurfnSand says late Monday night, a sea turtle swam ashore to lay her 105 eggs on the oily beach.
'This 300-pound turtle had to go through like an obstacle course of ships and booms to go lay her eggs.'
Soon after she left her eggs, BP set up their clean-up crews right over the nest. City workers told BP to move and also relocated the nest higher up in the dunes for safety.
- zdan, CNN iReport producerMomma Turtle Conquers Oil 5 hours ago | Orange Beach, Alabama | Vetting explained... more
To see the various graphs, try clicking on this link. However, if it doesn't work, go to: gallup.com , and look for Poll Number 140762
June 16, 2010
Many Americans Say Gulf Beaches, Wildlife Will Never Recover
Nearly all agree that full recovery will take 10 years or more
by Lydia Saad
PRINCETON, NJ -- From what they have seen of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill rolling onto America's shores, nearly half of Americans (49%) believe that at least some of the affected beaches will never recover. Even more, 59%, believe normal levels for some animal species will never be restored.
Predicted Timeline for Full Recovery of Gulf Shore Beaches, Wildlife (Including Fish and Birds)
More generally, Americans foresee a very long road to recovery for both the U.S. beaches and wildlife affected by the BP oil spill. The vast majority believe it will be a decade or more, if at all, before either aspect of the Gulf environment is back to normal; few think a full recovery will happen within four years.
Separately, Americans broadly agree that the oil spill will negatively affect the U.S. economy and the U.S. consumer. Roughly four in five believe the overall U.S. economy will be hurt, that gas prices will go up, and that food prices will increase.
Possible Economic Effects of Gulf Oil Spill
Women More Pessimistic Than Men About Undoing Oil Damage
The most striking subgroup differences in views about the oil spill's impact are by gender, with women much more pessimistic than men. (Gallup has previously found women to be more concerned than men about environmental matters.)
Sixty percent of women, compared with 37% of men, believe some Gulf beaches will never recover -- a 23 percentage-point gap. Additionally, there is a 13-point gap between men's and women's perceptions of whether the affected wildlife will fully recover.
Predicted Timeline for Recovery of Beaches Predicted Timeline for Recovery of Wildlife
Women are also more likely than men to believe that gas prices will increase (83% vs. 74%), and that the U.S. economy in general will be hurt (88% vs. 78%).
In his remarks when visiting the Gulf shoreline this week, as well as in his Oval Office address Tuesday night, President Obama has stressed the need for a long-term commitment to the oil spill cleanup. Americans may be getting impatient with BP and the federal government for not doing enough to cap the gushing oil rig and contain the leaked oil, but it appears they are resigned to a lengthy process to restore the beaches and wildlife, with perhaps limited success.
Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 11-13, 2010, with a random sample of 1,014 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone-only). Each sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone-only respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, education, region, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in continental U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.___ To see the various graphs, try clicking on this link. However, if it... more
Brown pelican long a symbol of survival
By Wayne Drash, CNN
June 15, 2010 11:51 a.m. EDT
Photo: Oiled pelicans await treatment at the Fort Jackson Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Buras, Louisiana.
(CNN) -- Long before the brown pelican came to symbolize the tragedy of the Gulf oil spill, the giant bird stood for something much greater: survival against all odds.
The state bird of Louisiana was nearly wiped out by pesticides in the 1950s and 1960s. Yet after decades of conservation efforts, the brown pelican just last year was removed from the endangered species list.
"At a time when so many species of wildlife are threatened, we once in a while have an opportunity to celebrate an amazing success story," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar declared on November 11. "Today is such a day. The brown pelican is back."
Now, eight months later, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal stands on the deck of a boat near Pelican Island off the Louisiana coast. He's surveying efforts to protect the state's wetlands. He's ordered the National Guard to begin building barriers in the ocean to try to stop the oil from reaching shore.
Yet Jindal pauses to talk about the brown pelican. The recent images of pelicans, coated in BP oil like grotesque statues, have taken on the symbolism of the spill. Louisiana has long been known as the "Pelican State," with the bird gracing the state flag.
"Here's what's really sad," Jindal said. "For every one of those mother adult pelicans you're saving, there are many more back there that you can't get to. And for every mother pelican you're saving, there may be a nest, there may be eggs that can't be saved.
"And that's the tragedy in this: That for every animal we see, what's this oil doing to their young? What's this oil doing to their life cycles?"
The recovery of the pelicans, before the spill, was largely attributed to the ban of the toxic chemical DDT in 1972. The pesticide traveled down the Mississippi River and into the Gulf of Mexico.
Three species were most affected: the brown pelican, the bald eagle and peregrine falcon. A component of DDT accumulated in each of those birds and, as a result, it affected the strength of the eggs they laid.
"The result was that you had thinner egg shells in the nest. During incubation, all the species had the tendency to break the eggs more easily," said Dr. Doug Inkey, a senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation. "This resulted in a huge population decline in all three species."
The bald eagle, peregrine falcon and brown pelican were all listed on the endangered species list. In the case of the brown pelican, wildlife officials in Louisiana and Florida teamed up to help save the bird over a 13-year period. A total of 1,276 young pelicans were captured in Florida and then released at three sites in southeastern Louisiana, according to the Interior Department.
"When their populations were low, we brought in those brown pelicans from Florida," Jindal said. "Now, when we capture them oiled, clean them up and rehabilitate them, we have to release them back in Florida to get away from this oil."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has deployed more than 450 people across the Gulf to respond to the nation's worst environmental disaster. As of Monday, the oil threatened 36 National Wildlife Refuges. Nearly 1,200 birds have been saved, including 728 in Louisiana.
Ron Britton of the Fish and Wildlife Service gave a CNN crew a tour of the marsh islands near Grand Isle, Louisiana, a prime breeding ground where oiled pelicans have been spotted.
"What you're trying to do is get in and get those as quick as you can," Britton told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "But the ones you're missing have less chance each night you can't get back. And the ones we don't get back, we're pretty sure are going somewhere and not surviving."
Oil affects pelicans in various ways. The birds' feathers interlock in a way that helps regulate cooling and, when oil soaks their feathers, the birds lose the ability to do that, biologists say.
"Brown pelicans dive into the water for fish. As they break the water, that's one of the ways they contact the oil. Then, once it's on their feathers, the birds preen daily," said Jennifer Coulson, president of the Orleans Audubon Society.
"When they're preening, they ingest all the BP oil. And so, that's another way they get sick and die."
Inkey of the National Wildlife Federation added, "When they get back to their nests, then they rub some of the oil from their chests to their eggs -- and oil on eggs is not a good mix. It's usually deadly for the developing embryo."
Inkey recently visited a brown pelican-nesting habitat along the Louisiana coast. Hundreds of the birds lived together in nests about 6 feet high in mangrove trees along the shore. There were two layers of protective booms surrounding the island that were "close to being worthless."
"We saw more oil inside the booms than we saw outside the booms," he said. "It was surrounded by a bathtub ring of oil."
His first thought: What's going to happen to the pelicans this year?
What's this oil doing to their young? What's this oil doing to their life cycles?
--Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
"This is the worst-case scenario: It's during breeding season," he said. "We're likely to lose a whole generation of young of many different species. ... It only takes once for a bird to really get messed up in oil for it to have an effect on the nesting success."
He and other biologists said it's far too early to know the full effect of the oil spill on the larger population of brown pelicans -- and whether the bird would ever make it back to the endangered species list. "It would be premature to suggest that," Inkey said.
Biologists said the pelican -- known for its long beak with a hooked tip and its 6-foot wingspan -- is better equipped to survive than smaller birds that ingest oil in greater proportion to their size. In addition, there are five species of sea turtles in the Gulf, and all are endangered or threatened.
"A sea turtle hatchling does not stand a chance," Inkey said.
Regardless, it's a dire situation for all types of wildlife in the region, biologists said.
Yet it was the images of the oil-soaked pelicans that brought home the scope of the disaster -- and its potential devastating consequences. The birds survived DDT, the constant erosion of Louisiana wetlands and Hurricane Katrina.
Inkey already had returned from his visit when the photos first appeared. "I got sick in my stomach," he said. "I had seen oiled pelicans, but not like that. The ones I saw were simply gray. These were just heartbreaking."
He paused. "How do you explain a picture like that to young children and get them to understand that this is something, although unintentional, that man caused?"
CNN's Dugald McConnell and Brian Todd contributed to this report.Brown pelican long a symbol of survival By Wayne Drash, CNN June 15, 2010 11:51 a.m.... more
Oil Flow Estimate Has Been Raised to 35,000-60,000 Barrels a Day, Up to 50% More Than Previous EstimateBy the CNN Wire Staff
June 15, 2010 5:40 p.m. EDT
President Obama addresses the nation live Tuesday night at 8 ET with the latest on the BP oil disaster. Watch it live on CNN, CNN.com/Live and the CNN iPhone app.
(CNN) -- Government officials Tuesday increased the estimate of oil flowing into the Gulf to between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels (1.5 million to 2.5 million gallons) per day, up to 50 percent more than previously estimated.
The government's previous estimate, issued last week, was 20,000 to 40,000 barrels per day. The change was "based on updated information and scientific assessments," and was reached by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, and Chair of the National Incident Command's Flow Rate Technical Group Marcia McNutt, the Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center said.
"The improved estimate is based on more and better data that is now available and that helps increase the scientific confidence in the accuracy of the estimate," it said.
Lawmakers hammered oil companies Tuesday as President Obama toured the Florida coast to reassure Americans that the government had firm command over the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
At Pensacola Naval Air Station, Obama declared war on the massive slick, as though it were an enemy lurking offshore.
"This is an unprecedented environmental disaster," Obama told a crowd of soldiers, Marines and sailors. "This is an assault in our nation's shore, and we're going to fight back with everything we've got."
The tough talk on soft sand preceded Obama's first-ever national address from the Oval Office, slated for Tuesday night. In the symbolically important speech, Obama will lay out a game plan for dealing with the worst oil spill in U.S. history, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told CNN.
Gibbs said Obama will outline containment and cleanup plans and address America's need to reduce dependency on foreign oil and fossil fuels.
Americans, frustrated with the incessant undersea gusher and also what some perceive as a lack of White House leadership, are sure to be listening, especially to what the president has to say regarding claims. The process has become a sore subject for those whose livelihoods have been stung by sheets of oil drifting in the Gulf and washing ashore.
Health threats from the Gulf oil disaster could last for years, and officials lack knowledge on how long chemicals in the spilled oil and dispersants will remain toxic, a health expert told a Senate committee Tuesday.
A Food and Drug Administration official told a Senate committee Tuesday that seafood from the Gulf of Mexico available to consumers in stores and restaurants is safe. "We are confident that Gulf of Mexico seafood that is in the market today is safe to eat," said Mike Taylor, deputy commissioner of the FDA.
Also Tuesday, BP said it suspended the operation to siphon oil from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico after a fire aboard a drill ship Tuesday morning.
Siphoning resumed Tuesday afternoon, BP said.
The fire was likely caused by a lightning strike, and siphoning was suspended as a precaution, BP said. There were no reported injuries.
The spill now dwarfs the 11 million gallons that were dumped into Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989 when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground, and oil in varying amounts and consistencies has hit the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
BP has been siphoning oil from a containment cap placed on the ruptured well but had to suspend oil collection Tuesday after a fire aboard the drilling ship Discover Enterprise.
A statement from the company attributed the fire to lightning. It said operations would restart Tuesday afternoon.
Obama is scheduled to meet with top BP officials in a highly anticipated meeting Wednesday. Speedy claims processing will be high on the agenda.
David Axelrod, Obama's senior adviser, has said a new claims plan would call for an independent third party to handle the process, and a White House spokesman said the administration is confident that it has the legal authority to force BP to set up an escrow account for the purpose of paying damages.
BP announced Tuesday that it accelerated commercial large-loss claims and has approved 337 checks for $16 million to businesses that have filed claims in excess of $5,000. Initial payments began over the weekend and will be completed this week, the British energy giant said.
In Washington, senior Democrats launched a blistering attack on oil companies at a key House subcommittee hearing.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said that four of the five largest oil firms have produced disaster response plans that discuss how to protect walruses, even though there are no walruses in the Gulf.
These are "cookie-cutter plans" that, in reality, are little more than "just paper exercises," he said.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, blasted the heads of ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, BP, and Shell Oil for producing disaster response plans that are "virtually identical."
They all tout "ineffective identical equipment" and often use "the exact same words" in their plans, he said. They have spent "zero time and money" in developing adequate response blueprints, he asserted.
Meanwhile Tuesday, federal authorities announced guidelines to speed up maritime waivers that would allow more foreign ships -- in addition to the 15 already in the Gulf of Mexico -- to assist in oil cleanup efforts.
"Should any waivers be needed, we are prepared to process them as quickly as possible to allow vital spill response activities being undertaken by foreign-flagged vessels to continue without delay," said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government's response manager.
The Jones Act, which regulates maritime commerce in U.S. waters, requires that goods transported by water between U.S. ports be carried in U.S.-flagged ships that have been constructed in the United States and are American-owned. The law was intended to support the U.S. merchant marine industry but now limits foreign vessels from participating in the oil response.
Allen also announced Tuesday the establishment of three positions for deputy incident commanders, who will help oversee operations from the coast. The three will join a response team that already involves roughly 27,000 people.
CNN's Dana Bash, Anderson Cooper and Ed Henry contributed to this report.
http://www.evworld.com/press/greenpeace_northerngannet_bp.jpgBy the CNN Wire Staff June 15, 2010 5:40 p.m. EDT President Obama addresses the... more