BP's response to Local 6's report is as follows:
"Unusual Mortality Events ("UMEs") of dolphins occur with some regularity in the Gulf of Mexico. Causes have been determined in less than half of the UMEs involving marine mammals documented since 1991. There are multiple potential causes of elevated dolphin strandings, including toxic algal blooms, infectious diseases like brucellosis, persistent organic pollutants, and boat strikes. The UME that NOAA is currently investigating began in February 2010, before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill started. Our understanding is that NOAA's investigation into these dolphin deaths is on-going and that it is too early in the process to determine potential cause(s) for the UME. As part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment ("NRDA"), BP has participated in and provided funding for live dolphin health assessments, population assessments, and the collection of environmental and food chain data. In addition to BP, other participants in the NRDA for dolphins include federal and state agencies and the Chicago Zoological Society."
--Craig Savage, U.S. Press Officer, BP America
53,000 barrels of oil each day. Nearly 5 million barrels in all. That's how much oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico because of the BP oil disaster.
It's easily the worst marine oil spill in history and 10 times that of the Exxon Valdez disaster.
But BP's most recent television commercials seem to indicate all is well with the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists say it is not, because dolphins are dying at an alarming rate.
"We're finding, unfortunately, more dead dolphins that we normally would."
In fact, scientists like Suzanne Smith with the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas calls what she is seeing an unusual mortality event-- 630 dead dolphins in the Gulf since early 2010.
"We are taking duplicate and triplicate samples on all parts, externally and internally on these animals to try and find out what is happening," Smith said.
Dan Favre with the Gulf Restoration Network thinks BP is to blame.
"The ongoing death of these dolphins speaks to the idea that we haven't seen all of the impacts from the BP oil drilling disaster end yet."
The latest BP advertisement says the company is, "glad to report all the beaches are open for everyone to enjoy."
The commercial shows pretty pictures of the Gulf; clean water, thriving marine life and scenes the company says proves the economy is improving.
The ad also celebrates how much money BP is spending on research and recovery in the Gulf of Mexico.
"We're paying for all spill related clean-up costs and we've established a $500 million fund so independent scientists can study the Gulf's wildlife and environment for 10 years."
What BP fails to say in the commercial is that because of the ongoing investigation and litigation involving the spill, scientists are not allowed to reveal what they learn after examining the dead dolphins.
According to Smith, "the testing on the necropsies has gotten very strict."
As a result, we may not know for some time what role the oil spill played with the immune systems of the dead dolphins.
"I hope we don't see anything more," said Favre. "But I would say we still have a little more time where we're going to be on the edge of our seat in seeing what might actually happen in the future."
The spike in dolphin death actually traces back to a few weeks before the BP Oil Disaster. That is why some scientists believe a virus unrelated to the BP disaster may be killing the dolphins.
Last fall, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said some of the dolphins showed signs of a virus called brucella.