BP oil spill

The Interior Department is reviewing more than $700 million dollars in bids to drill in the western Gulf of Mexico. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the major bids in the first sale since the BP oil spill last year, and then visited a business still reeling from the spill.

The Interior Department has conducted the first sale of leases on drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico since the BP spill last year. It comes after environmental groups failed to block the sale.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar traveled to New Orleans to announce bids on leases for the western Gulf off Texas. He says deepwater drilling is now safer than it was before the BP well exploded, spilling more than 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf.

Ian McNulty / WWNO

If some people out there still don't yet appreciate the heritage of our cuisine and the natural abundance that fuels it, I really wish they would get with the program already. After all, I don't think our region can stand another brutal lesson in just how much it all means.

Ten teams are working the shorelines from Terrebone Parish to the west, along the coastal bays and up into Lake Pontchartrain. BP is paying environmental consulting firm Entrix to look for underwater oil. Clumps of white material resembling pompoms are suspended in the water. Staff scientist Chelsea Murphy explains the process it calls the "Sentinel" program, while on board a boat following teams motoring between buoys.

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