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The Trouble With Turtles: A Q&A With the Federal Oil Spill Response Team

BY Nick Judd | Friday, July 16 2010

Federal spokespeople answer questions about the impact of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill on sea turtles. In lower right, a tweet pertaining to the Q&A from the joint federal response's Twitter account.

The joint federal-BP command center on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster on Friday held a live video town hall on the subject of sea turtles.

Federal maps available online show that there are sea turtle populations in the path of the oil spill, and there has been concern for some time now over the impact of various responses — dispersants, corralling and burning surface oil — on sea turtles.

The joint command center is also live-tweeting the event, and, as I write, is answering a question posed via Twitter.

This seems to be an example of using new media to listen to, and respond to, concerns from the public: I first saw stories like this one — claiming that oil burns were also incinerating sea turtles — several years ago.

So are sea turtles getting burned? As I've been listening, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokespeople — together with Jeff Corwin — haven't directly said yes. (UPDATE: But I didn't hear them say no, either, although — per the tweet above — they did say they are now looking out for sea turtles in burn area.)

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