Accused of killing dolphins in Australia is energy giant Santos

an upside-down, dead dolphin

A major energy company has been charged with downplaying the severity of an oil spill that killed dolphins last year off the coast of Western Australia (WA).

In a statement read aloud in parliament this week, a whistleblower claimed that dead dolphins had been discovered floating close to the oil slick left behind by Santos in March.

Santos has previously refuted the claim that the deaths were caused by the Varanus Island facility's spill.

Requests for comment from the Australian company have not yet been returned.

The company described the incident as a "minor spill" with "negligible" environmental impact in an April 2018 statement to the WA Today newspaper.

Since it would have been too soon for the spill to be the cause of their deaths, it was added in November that the dead dolphins had been discovered "a couple of hours after" the spill.

The company, according to the whistleblower, couldn't be certain because environmental experts weren't sent to the island until more than a week after the incident.

On Thursday, independent Senator David Pocock read out the statement from a former Santos employee.

The Lowendal Islands, located about 75 kilometers (46 miles) off the coast of Western Australia, are reputed for their "pristine white sand beaches," "gorgeous blue turquoise water," and "abundant marine and bird life.".

However, he claimed in the statement that 25,000 litres of condensate had leaked from an underwater hose, causing sea snakes to "writhe in agony" and other marine life to suffer.

The public comment from Santos "then shocked me," the whistleblower claimed.

"The ocean contains tens of thousands of liters of oil, along with dead dolphins and sea snakes. How was this so insignificant?".

They continued by saying that Santos had violated its obligations by allegedly delaying the delivery of environmental assessors.

According to their statement, "They could not have known the real scale of impact because it was never checked.".

They added that other employees had also raised concerns internally and characterized Santos' actions as "deceptive" and "contrary to its internal code of conduct... and, possibly, the law.".

The statement's submitter, Mr. Pocock, described the testimony and video as "very distressing.".

He claimed that the incident brought up serious issues with both Santos' behavior and the protection of the marine environment.

According to WA's top conservation organization, the spill is the most recent example of the oil company's "very poor environmental and safety record.".

"It is crucial that regulators make Santos look bad. Small fines are simply insufficient to stop this type of incident from occurring again, according to Maggie Wood.

She also expressed worry over the fact that a whistleblower was the only reason the allegations were discovered a year after the incident.

How many incidents similar to this might not be known to us because people like Santos failed to inform us?

Santos has yet to make a statement to the public and has not responded to the BBC's inquiries.

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