Weâ€™re pleased to announce that the Spanish government has put an end to proposed oil industry development that would have threatened the DoĂ±ana National Park, a World Heritage Site, after campaigning by Oceana and our allies.
Plans to build an oil refinery in the Gulf of Cadiz, not far from DoĂ±ana, would have led to higher ship traffic in the area and a higher risk of oil spills or accidents during the tankersâ€™ unloading operations. Oceana is currently working to create a Marine Protected Area in this section of the Gulf of Cadiz, which would be linked to the National Park.
DoĂ±ana National Park was established in 1993 and named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Its marshes, streams, and sand dunes are home to plants and animals found almost nowhere else in the world.
Many migratory birds spend their winters in the park lands, and endangered species like the Spanish imperial eagle and the Iberian lynx (one of the worldâ€™s most endangered cat species) call this area home. In the marshes of DoĂ±ana National Park, you can also find birds like the Avocet and the Purple Heron, both of which depend on the sensitive estuary habitats.
Increased oil tanker traffic could have potentially damaged the already vulnerable habitats of these animals.
Oceana identified the threats posed by the construction of this oil refinery in 2005, and has been campaigning against it with other conservationist groups. Oceana Europe is now calling on the Spanish government to enact similar protections for other marine protected areas.
From CNN today:
"It's obvious what's going on at the surface. The big issue is what's trapped in the marsh," [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationâ€™s chief fisheries scientist Steve] Murawski said.
Todayâ€™s â€śOil Spill Quote of the Dayâ€ť is actually more of an â€śOil Spill Diagram of the Day.â€ť
The Washington Post recently published a great graphic showing the effects of an oil spill on delicate marshlands. These marshes are crucially important yet often get overlooked. So rather than reading the usual daily quote, go check out the informative image from the Washington Post.
From NBC yesterday:
"My first impression is the vastness of the problem," [Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie] Mughelli said [during a recent trip to the Gulf with other professional and Olympic athletes]. "It doesn't look small on TV by any means, but it seems like you can contain it ... and that's not the case at all. Especially when you come out here and look at it and see the oil on the Gulf and see the marsh being eroded and see the birds with black underbellies, you realize it's a lot worse than you think it is."
Today is the one-month anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
And still it spills.
This week Oceanaâ€™s Pacific science director Dr. Jeff Short is down in the Gulf responding to the disaster. Short is an environmental chemist who worked for NOAA on the Exxon Valdez spill.
He sent us the images of the oil spill in the slideshow below, including one of himself collecting samples of the mousse oil for analysis at LSU.
Short wrote in an e-mail to us that â€śDespite deploying mile after mile of oil containment boom to protect the coast from oiling, nearly all the boom materials we saw during our overflight had been abandoned and their integrity subsequently compromised, often resulting in scrambled masses of boom uselessly washed up against shorelines.â€ť
If you havenâ€™t already, sign the petition to stop new offshore drilling today.