Sea turtles hit hardest by BP's Gulf of Mexico oil spill will be released today, as BP makes plans to permanently plug its leaking well starting next week.

More than 500 sea turtle deaths among several species have been documented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's fisheries program, and turtle strandings in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle are said to be "much higher" since the Gulf spill.

The turtles scheduled to be released today spend most of their lives in the Gulf and therefore are thought to be most threatened by the spill, according to Todd Steiner, director of the Turtle Island Restoration Network.

Steiner is against the release because currents where the turtles will float lead into oil-polluted areas.

"We believe they're going to get into the oil and die," Steiner told USA Today.

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