BP oil spill

Five years ago, BP's out-of-control oil well deep in the Gulf of Mexico exploded. Eleven workers were killed on the Deepwater Horizon rig. But it was more than a deadly accident — the blast unleashed the nation's worst offshore environmental catastrophe.

In the spring and summer of 2010, oil gushed from the Macondo well for nearly three months. More than 3 million barrels of Louisiana light crude fouled beaches and wetlands from Texas to Florida, affecting wildlife and livelihoods.

Today, the spill's impacts linger.

Jesse Hardman / WWNO

Five years ago an off-shore explosion killed 11 workers and created a massive 210 million gallon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. There have been questions ever since about how the accident could have been prevented and how to improve off-shore safety standards.

Carl Moore started working on off-shore supply boats back in the 1980s.

finchlake2000 / Flickr

On this week’s Louisiana Eats!, we’re remembering the devastation of the BP oil spill, which took place five years ago this week. Six weeks after the spill, we produced our very first episode of Louisiana Eats!, and there was no way we could ignore the disaster that was unfolding in the Gulf.

Laine Kaplan-Levenson / WWNO

Monday, April 20 marks the fifth anniversary of the 2010 BP oil spill that sent millions of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Right after the spill, seafood restaurants were bombarded with concerns about the safety of what was being served, and where it came from. Today, the public has stopped asking questions and is ready to eat, but now there’s a supply issue. While marketing campaigns are spreading a message of safe and bountiful Gulf seafood, others in the industry worry about the future.

As the five-year anniversary approaches later this month of the BP oil spill, the Environmental  Defense Fund is gearing up for monitoring how restoration money is used to repair damage.

The Restore Act sets aside 80 percent of the still-undetermined billions of dollars in fines BP will be ordered to pay in Clean Water Act fines.

Some projects are already drawing critics. The Gulf Restoration Network is suing to block the money from being used for an Alabama convention center.

Natalie Peyronnin is director of science policy for the Environmental Defense Fund.

NASA / Wikimedia Commons

The Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane University received $1.4 million from the BP Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to fund research about impacts of the 2010 oil spill in Louisiana and Alabama. 

This three year program will focus on three coastal communities. Two areas in Louisiana and one in Alabama will be selected to study the impact of the oil spill.

Serguei S. Dukachev / Wikimedia Commons

A report published last month found that an unusually high number of bottlenose dolphins have been dying all along the Gulf Coast since February 2010. This unusual mortality event, or UME, began two months before the 2010 BP oil spill, but groups including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the spill is responsible for the continued die-off of this species.

Now it’s BP’s turn in court.

The oil company will be calling witnesses as it makes a case for civil penalties lower than the $13.7 billion the federal government wants from the 2010 oil spill.

The second week of a three-week trial is set to begin today in New Orleans.

Last week, government experts testified about environmental, economic and social damage caused by the spill.

BP attorneys disputed much of that testimony, and have argued the recovery of the environment and the Gulf economy has been strong.

A government witness at the trial to determine civil penalties against BP for the 2010 oil spill says the disaster hurt a wide array of industries over a broad geographic area.

Charles Mason also testified yesterday that the harm was only modestly countered by BP's spending and investment in the region.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys are pushing for the maximum $13.7 million Clean Water Act penalty for BP.

BP says the figure should be less.

Lawyers for BP and the government are set to begin the third and final phase today of the trial over its 2010 oil spill. A Tulane University expert on maritime law says there are billions of dollars at stake.

Federal judge Carl Barbier has been overseeing the complex litigation over the 2010 disaster.

Tulane law professor Martin Davies is director of the Tulane Maritime Law Center. He says that process has proven much faster than scheduling jury trials. Barbier has already made key rulings in the case.

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