This was the year that saw billions of BP dollars offiicially released to fund hundreds of Gulf-wide restoration projects, a year when suspicion went to confirmation that bottlenose dolphin deaths were linked to the spill, and a year when the Big Easy commemorated the 10th anniversary of the worst hurricane to ever pummel its shores while coming out unscathed by this season’s storms.
It was another year for receding coastline, coral bleaching, rebuilding homes for the Katrina “homeless” and a year for resolving to put stricter drilling standards in place to guard against a spill like we had in April, 2010.
All of that being said, the Gulf of Mexico touts an estimated 4,000 drilling rigs and production platforms off the Louisiana coast, with no sign of easing the onslaught despite the area’s wounds in 2010 through the present day. Vessels of Opportunity workers and others on the Gulf following the spill continue to suffer grave sicknesses; part of the disaster occurred because the U.S. Government greenlit the copious dispersal via airdrop of banned-in-the-UK-substance Corexit.
Herewith, some of the top NOLA environmental stories on this page.
BP oil “flow rate” is determined
Federal Judge Carl Barbier decided the official flow rate of the BP spill, a highly contested argument for months, even years. “The Court finds that 4.0 million barrels of oil released from the reservoir. After deducting the Collected Oil from this amount per the parties’ stipulation, the Court finds for purposes of calculating the maximum possible civil penalty under the CWA that 3.19 million barrels of oil discharged into the Gulf of Mexico,” the judge ruled in his Jan. 15 Order.
Bottlenose dolphin deaths linked to spill
Scientists officially determined that the massive bottlenose dolphin die-off could likely be linked to the spill. Ever since the disaster ensued, observers such as “Lori the Dolphin Lady,” a woman who gives chartered dolphin cruises off Orange Beach, Ala., commented about the sick and dead dolphins washing ashore.
Sick gulf residents in spotlight on 5th anniversary of spill
Brad Mizell, seen here, was a fisherman who took a job on the Vessels of Opportunity, a boat sponsored by BP to allay the damage of the spill. With copious amounts of Corexit doused in the Gulf, Mizell suffered grave health effects including sores and the loss of some fifty pounds. Even so, the dispersant, banned in the very country that manufactures it, was greenlit not just by BP but our very own government. This examiner spoke to some of those with myriad health complaints stemming from both the spill and Corexit effects.
On 5th anniversary of spill, thousands of dead dolphins and turtles linked to spill by NWF
The National Wildlife Federation released staggering numbers this past spring, which officially link the die-off of Kemp’s ridley sea turtles, bottlenose dolphins and other marine life to the spill. Just this past week, more dead turtles were linked to the BP spill, with these creatures much further from their usual sea “home”. Other findings included documenting that an estimated 12 percent of brown pelicans and 32 percent of laughing gulls in the northern Gulf died as a result of the oil spill.
The 10th anniversary of Katrina brought hope
In a region ravaged by both the BP oil spill and before that, in 2005, Hurricane Katrina it was nice to see so much celebrating. In this picture, as gifted photographer Mario Tama shares, a couple who married a day before Katrina hit renew their vows. The Getty Images caption reads: “Edward and Nykia Buckner kiss at their ceremony for the renewal of wedding vows on the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on August 29, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Edward and Nykia were married on August 28, 2005, one day before the hurricane struck. In the chaos that ensued, they weren’t able to move in together and the newlyweds were separated for ten agony-filled days in the aftermath of the storm. They decided to renew their vows ten years later on the anniversary of the historic storm.”
BP must pay $18.7 billion for its damage to the Gulf
This fall, the feds released a damage assessment that would permit hundreds of projects in the Gulf to go forward, as billions allocated for both protecting and bettering our community were funded. But before that, in July, the oil behemoth agreed in principle to pay the largest environmental settlement, $18.7 billion, in U.S. history, for breeching the Clean Water Act and Oil Spill Pollution Act