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BP Burning Sea Turtles Alive

June 24, 2010

A boat captain says that he has seen BP ships burning sea turtles and other wildlife alive in the Gulf of Mexico.

Captain Mike Ellis, who is working to rescue sea turtles, said in an interview by Catherine Craig that BP boats are conducting controlled burns to get rid of the oil.

“They drag a boom between two shrimp boats and whatever gets caught between the two boats, they circle it up and catch it on fire. Once the turtles are in there, they can’t get out,” Ellis todl Craig.

He said he had to cut his three-week trip rescuing the turtles short because BP quit allowing him access to rescue turtles before the burns.

“They’re pretty much keeping us from doing what we need to do out there,” Ellis said.

A report in the Los Angeles Times says the “burn fields” are 500 square miles in which 16 controlled burns will take place in a day.

“When the weather is calm and the sea is placid, ships trailing fireproof booms corral the black oil, the coated seaweed and whatever may be caught in it, and torch it into hundred-foot flames, sending plumes of smoke skyward in ebony mushrooms,” the article says.

Ellis said that the turtles he has seen are Kemps Ridley turtles, which is a critically endangered species.  Harming or killing one would bring stiff civil and criminal penalties and fines up to $50,000 against BP.

Stock Image Courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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