Speaking on MSNBC’s “Countdown” Monday night, Marine toxicologist Riki Ott alleged that oil giant BP is actively attempting to curb coverage of the recent oil spill by removing oiled animal carcasses from Gulf beaches.
“Turtle watch volunteers who walk the beaches consistently every morning at 6:00 a.m., they’re saying the carcasses are disappearing,” Ott told host Keith Olbermann. “People who walk the beaches at night, they’ve seen little baby dolphins wash up dead, flashlights, people descend out of nowhere, carcass gone in 15 minutes. There’s reports from offshore of massive kills on the barrier islands from fishermen who have been working on the spill response… BP’s response has been to use metal detectors to keep and prevent the people from even taking cell phones out to photograph this.”
While at first glance, Ott’s claims might seem conspiratorial, myriad reports have fingered BP’s role in attempting to silence coverage of the spill’s effects. Over the weekend, reports signaled that BP had hired private security contractors to guard some Gulf coast beaches.
“I’ve been able to get some pictures of BP raking up bird carcasses, separating heads from bodies,” Ott said later in the interview. “Supposedly, NOAA is saying, oh, these carcasses are all going to be autopsied so we can determine cause of death. You`re not going to autopsy a carcass where the head is removed from the body. So, in my opinion, there’s a very strong attempt, not only to control and minimize how much oil was spilling, but now, to control the evidence of the damage, the appearance of carcasses.”
“It’s not just tar balls that are washing ashore,” Ott added. “It’s the invisible oil, the underwater plume that’s coming ashore, it’s surface oil, and it’s also these vapors.”
The oil slick resulting from the Apr. 20 spill — which transpired after an offshore oil right burst into flames and sunk into the sea — has also endangered pelicans, including the brown pelican, Louisiana’s state bird.
The brown pelican was reintroduced into the bay in 1968, after coming close to extinction.
AFP noted earlier this month that once coated with oil, the birds can hardly move. Some struggle in vain, others stop breathing and simply die.
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast June 14, 2010.