The Environmental Protection Agency will investigate an abandoned oil field on the north arm of the Great Salt Lake now that an emergency response team has found old wells are leaking.

The EPA team visited the remote area of Rozel Point last week after reports of dead pelicans and eagles.`We're definitely going to do an investigation because it's obvious that some of those wells are leaking. We want to investigate and see if there's a problem," said Joyce Ackerman, EPA's on-scene coordinator.

Attention focused on the area in October when visitors to the nearby Spiral Jetty sculpture reported 70 dead pelicans and one dead golden eagle along the shore between the oil field and the jetty.

"It was a shock to us to see that many dead pelicans," said Riley Player, a Salt Lake County resident. "The year before, on the same weekend, we saw another dead eagle and two dead pelicans in the same area."

No one knows what is killing birds at Rozel Point, but some suspect tarlike petroleum products escaping from abandoned wells and natural seeps.

Player doesn't think it was the oil. "If the birds would have got into the oil, they would have had oil on their feathers and in their gullets. Our concern was they had gotten into some contaminated fish," he said.

Don Paul, a biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, said he found no evidence that oil contributed to the deaths. He investigated a month after the October report.

Paul said it's possible the thick tar doesn't coat the birds' feathers like oil but damages them in ways that haven't been determined yet. The birds might have been killed in a severe storm on the lake or they might have been infected with disease.