News / USA

Victims and Damage from BP Oil Spill Remembered One Year Later

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at a news conference on the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Grand Isle, La., April 20, 2011
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at a news conference on the first anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Grand Isle, La., April 20, 2011
Greg Flakus

There were commemorations all along the U.S. coast along the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday to observe the first anniversary of the accident on the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform that killed 11 people and led to the biggest oil spill in history.  The debate continues over how to carry out underwater oil drilling operations safely and how to restore the damaged areas.

Appearing with local and state officials at a marina in Grand Isle, Louisiana, the state's governor, Bobby Jindal, spoke of the explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon and the pain it caused many families in the area.

"A year ago today in this tragedy, 11 men lost their lives," said Jindal. "Nothing can bring those men back.  We need to keep not only those men, but their families, in our prayers.  We are talking about husbands, sons; we are talking about loved ones that will never come back.  And I know that today is a very difficult day for these families."

The Deepwater Horizon was operated by BP, one of the world's largest oil companies, headquartered in London.  The company sold off some of its assets last year to help pay $20 billion to a U.S. government-administered trust fund to compensate fishing and seafood boat owners, workers and others affected by the spill.

The environmental effects of the spill continue to plague some areas along the Gulf coast.  Before the leaking well was capped, 87 days after the accident, officials estimate it poured nearly five million barrels of oil into the Gulf.  Hundreds of kilometers of delicate wetlands were soaked in oil and many areas have yet to recover.  Tar balls continue to wash up on beaches, and animal rescue teams still treat oil-soaked dolphins, turtles and other creatures.

Governor Jindal says BP needs to do more to fulfill its promise to Louisiana and other states along the coast that it will pay for the restoration of damaged areas.

Jindal said Wednesday that BP has not started on projects aimed at restoring oyster beds and reefs, even though the company has spent millions of dollars on television commercials that tout its commitment to the Gulf's restoration.

"We continue to call on BP to fulfill the promises of their ads," he said. "We continue to call on BP to truly make it right."

But for many people in coastal Louisiana, the biggest impact from last year's disaster was the moratorium on deep-water oil drilling imposed by the Obama administration as part of an effort to prevent any further offshore drilling accidents.  The moratorium was lifted in October, but very few permits have been issued since then.  Oil and gas companies say they are prevented from moving quickly to ramp up production by new rules and regulations.

Thousands of people in Louisiana have found good-paying jobs in energy production since offshore operations expanded along the Gulf coast a few decades ago.   In addition, many local companies rely on contracts from oil and gas companies to continue their operations.

But some Louisiana residents argue that the environmental costs associated with the oil and gas industry are too high and that the state should diversify its economy away from energy.  Environmental groups are chiding the government for not going far enough to impose new safety measures on the petroleum industry.  Obama administration officials say new rules being prepared will do more to ensure offshore drilling safety and allow operations in the Gulf to continue.  The Gulf of Mexico accounts for about 30 percent of U.S. domestic oil production.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs