The Government Was Sitting On These Horrifying Images From The BP Oil Spill For Two Years

sea turtle

Photo: NOAA

On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform spewed nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf Mexico.  More than two years later, newly released photographs from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveal the horrifying extent of damage to marine life.  

The shocking images were received by Greenpeace through a Freedom of Information request filed in August 2010.  

“Through an exhaustive image search, we found two from the bulk of the image dump that had been made available, but otherwise these are to the best of our knowledge previously unreleased. They seriously question the government and BP’s claims about the disaster’s impact on endangered species,” Greenpeace spokesman Travis Nicholas told us in an e-mail.  

These garbage bags are full of dead sea turtles

At least 4 species of endangered or threatened sea turtle are found in the northern Gulf of Mexico

Source: NOAA

A critically endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtle covered in oil

The only nesting beaches in the world for Kemp's Ridley turtles are in the western Gulf of Mexico

Source: NOAA

About 1,000 nesting females were counted before the BP oil catastrophe

Turtles that were exposed to oil either died or may have become physically impaired

A dead turtle covered in oil

Clean-up workers attempt to wash blobs of oil off one turtle

But many were not so fortunate

Greenpeace submitted more than 50 FOIA requests starting in May 2010

The organisation only recently received around 100 images from the spill that have never been published

A cloud of oil sits on the Gulf of Mexico

Oil tarballs washed up on the beach

Officials have consistently tried to downplay impacts of the spill

On Friday, a federal judge delayed a civil trial that would assign damages from the disaster to January 2013

Ecologists worry about the long-term impacts of the spill

Birds, whales and other fish also suffered harmful effects from toxins in the oil

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