Co-published by Grist
Last fall Valero, the Texas-based petroleum giant, asked a small refinery town in Northern California to approve a huge crude-by-rail project. The city council of Benicia, however, had other ideas.
Everybody knows that sunflowers turn their heads toward the sun. But until now no one knew whether the movement simply followed the sun’s arc, or whether some internal rhythm guided the plants. Now we have a clue.
On Wednesday, May 20, the day after a Santa Barbara County fire inspector discovered a stream of contaminated crude oil flowing onto a pristine segment of the Southern California coast, a group of researchers published a study linking the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to a mass die-off of bottlenose dolphins. The 46 carcasses examined for the study had suffered from “rare, life-threatening and chronic adrenal gland and lung diseases.” The researchers concluded that these diseases were “consistent with exposure to petroleum compounds as seen in other mammals.”
Hearing this, the casual observer might say duh, and wonder why such a study makes the news at this late date, a full five years after British Petroleum’s oil rig exploded and sank,