The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently released never before seen photos of sea turtles slathered in oil and dead on beaches after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that devastated the Gulf Coast two years ago.
The images, provided by the federal government to Greenpeace, include sea turtles covered in brown sludge and sperm whales navigating through an oil slick.
The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in April 2010 resulted in nearly five million barrels of oil pouring into waters off the Gulf Coast, forever changing the landscape of the animal life in the Gulf.
The spill was finally capped after almost three months.
John Hocevar, Greenpeace’s director of ocean campaigns, said the photos show “rosy stories of rescued animals being released back into the wild.”
Greenpeace Research Director Kert Davies said the group is also concerned about what else the public has never been told about the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history:
"These photos are a grim reminder of the real damage that reckless oil corporations cause and also remind us never to stop pushing for transparency and accountability from Big Oil and the government that supposedly regulates its activities."
A NOAA spokesman said in an email that during the BP spill, "thousands of photographs taken by our scientists available to ensure the public had access to these important images."
The cost of animal lives cannot be counted, as more than 600 sea turtles and more than 150 dead dolphins were found.
As for BP, in March 2012 they were ordered to pay about $7.8 billion to resolve more than 100,000 claims for economic loss and spill-related injuries from individuals and businesses.