More Dead Dolphins Wash Up on Gulf Coast as “Unnamed Scientists” Hastily Rule Out BP Spill as a Cause


If you’ve been following the story about all the dead baby dolphins washing ashore, then you were probably shocked to learn that, according to an Associated Press report, “scientists have ruled out possible effects from the BP oil spill.”

That was quick.

Even before the test results are in – from the necropsies, the pathology, the toxicology – scientists are ruling out BP’s spill as a cause? Uh, by the way, those “unnamed scientists” wouldn’t be part of NOAA, now would they? We’ll soon find out, but for now let’s note that (named) scientists at the non-profit Institute for Marine Mammal Studies are a bit slower to judgment, with IMMS director Moby Solangi saying the cause of the dolphin deaths could be anything.

Mr. Solangi told the AP: “I think it could be the environment. The cold weather. It could be their fisheries. Some changes in their food habits. It could be a cyclical change. Who knows? But we’re going to do a forensics study. We’re doing the necropsies, the pathology, the toxicology. And try to get to the bottom of it.”

So far, the body count stands at 28 dolphins of all ages that have been found dead in only two states since the beginning of the year. There were only 89 deaths reported in all of 2010, IMMS says.

The story is going viral, and few are going to trust that this sad situation isn’t in some way tied to the 5 million barrels of oil and 2 million gallons of toxic dispersant that was dumped into the Gulf. And if it turns out that NOAA is working to “get in front of the story” by immediately discounting spill impacts, it would be a true outrage – but also “business as usual” for this battle-weary agency.

Here’s an AP report:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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