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Why the BP oil spill still matters after 9 years

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There wasn’t much fanfare in April when the 9th anniversary of the world’s largest-ever oil spill — the BP Deepwater Horizon catastrophe that dumped more than 4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico — came and went. Usually a 9th anniversary isn’t a big deal, after all. But the lack of attention might cause some folks to think the effects of America’s worst...

Seven years after Deepwater Horizon, and we haven’t learned much

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It was seven years ago yesterday that BP’s Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 people and triggering an environmental catastrophe that in many ways has continued to this day. It is a moment I will never forget: I was in a small plane flying over the Gulf that next morning, watching the thick black plume of smoke with a mixture of shock and alarm. That soon gave way...

Louisiana can’t afford to do nothing about its shrinking wetlands

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Restoring wetlands is certainly an expensive proposition. Even with monies available from sources such as the massive settlement that BP reached with Louisiana, the federal government and other Gulf states over the Deepwater Horizon spill, officials struggle to come up with all the funds needed to replenish coastline and bring back to life marshes and bayous that have been destroyed by energy...

Here’s more bad news for Louisiana seafood

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One of the first stories that I’ve covered since the very beginning of this blog is the threat to Louisiana seafood. It’s certainly an issue that I can relate to, as a New Orleans native who grew up eating the rich harvest from the nearby Gulf of Mexico. And needless to say, it was particularly heartbreaking in the early days to have to report in the early days of the BP Deepwater...

Fire is a jarring reminder of Gulf drilling risks

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The news broke in the middle of the night: Another major fire at an offshore drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. Each time this happens, the news brings back painful memories of April 20, 2010, and the shocking explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig. The catastrophic effect of that tragic explosion and fire has been well documented (including a recent...

The drip, drip, drip of Big Oil on La.’s fragile environment

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More than six years ago, this blog was created largely in response to one gigantic and catastrophic event: The massive BP oil spill in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. That tragedy has had dozens of story lines — from the toxic dispersant that made so many clean-up workers ill, to the deaths of sea creatures from dolphins to endangered turtles, to the destruction of...

The damage from Deepwater Horizon that can’t be restored

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The 2010 Deepwater Horizon catastrophe is back in the news again, thanks to this weekend’s release of the blockbuster Hollywood movie about the rig explosion. Once again, Americans are talking again about a story that had seemed to fade from the picture — even though it would be a huge mistake to anyone to forget the worst ecological disaster in American history. It will certainly be...

They still don’t take seafood safety seriously in the Gulf

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In more than a quarter century as an environmental lawyer, I’ve learned a lot about the mostly ineffective ways that government regulators do their jobs — and that learning curve definitely accelerated in those first few months after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Time and time again, I — and others in the environmental community here in Louisiana — watched in those...

Finally, Louisiana takes the fight to Big Oil

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For a long time, you had to wonder what it would take for environmental protection to finally become “a thing” in the state of Louisiana. After all, my native state has been whacked over the head with a crisis either caused by, or made worse by, its lack of concern for the ecology on more than one occasion. The nightmare and the massive loss of life that was 2005’s Hurricane...

Oil spills are good for the economy, oil industry says

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It’s been six long years since the BP oil spill — but the outrage over what happened in April 2010 out in the Gulf feels pretty fresh. A lot of good people suffered lasting scars from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. I’m thinking about all of the maritime workers who offered to work long, hot hours cleaning up the oily gunk — only to then suffer health problems such as...

Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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