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Protecting Wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico from Offshore Drilling

An oiled gannet is cleaned at the Theodore Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. June 17, 2010.

An oiled gannet is cleaned at the Theodore Oiled Wildlife Rehabilitation Center after BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster. June 17, 2010.

PO3 Colin White / U.S. Coast Guard

What’s at Stake

Among the Gulf species listed under the Endangered Species Act that are harmed by offshore drilling are Bryde’s and sperm whales, Kemp’s ridley and loggerhead sea turtles, and elkhorn corals.

Overview

In 2010, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused the death or serious harm to billions, if not trillions, of fish, sea turtles, whales, and other animals, including more than 100,000 individuals of species listed as threatened or endangered, according to scientists’ estimates.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is required under the Endangered Species Act to complete a consultation with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement on their oversight of oil and gas operations that could impact threatened and endangered species.

A long-overdue, and scientifically inadequate, assessment was released in 2020. It was triggered by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon tragedy and took a decade to complete.

On behalf of our clients, Earthjustice has brought a series of court actions to ensure that legally required safeguards are established to prevent further harm to sea turtles, whales, and other threatened and endangered species from oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Case Updates