The Nation's Largest Oil Spill
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded and subsequently sank in the Gulf of Mexico 48 miles off the coast of Louisiana resulting in the largest oil spill in our nation’s history. The explosion killed 11 people working on the platform and injured 17 others. Ten days later, oil made landfall in Plaquemines Parish and continued to flow onto our shoreline for months.
After 87 days, BP temporarily capped the Macondo well, but only after millions of barrels oil, natural gas and methane were released into the Gulf. The Macondo Well was permanently capped 111 days later. In response to the spill, BP and the Coast Guard captured 689,934 barrels of oil directly from the wellhead, conducted 411 in-situ burns and used dispersants to break up the oil both by spraying the chemical over open water and injecting it deep underwater near the wellhead. (Note: Louisiana objected to the use of dispersants.) According to the U.S Coast Guard 3.8 million feet of hard boom and 9.7 million feet of soft boom was deployed, once oil began approaching the shore to protect our fragile marshes.
One year after the spill, oil is still washing up on our beaches from submerged tar mats and oil captured in near shore sediments continues to foul our marshes. Louisiana is working to ensure that BP and the other responsible parties continue the response efforts until the oil is removed from our coast and the clean-up is complete.
Louisiana’s coast was the most heavily impacted and the immediate and long-term damage to our natural resources (i.e. birds, fish, wildlife, shoreline, marine mammals, etc.) from both the oil and response efforts are currently being assessed. The Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) is a long-term legal process that will likely span many years. Teams of state and federal scientists have been gathering data for months in order to pinpoint the injuries from the spill. The data is currently being processed in laboratories and will be analyzed to determine how our resources were impacted. These scientists are studying impacts from response activities, direct oiling and other impacts of the oil on the food chain or reproductive systems of critical gulf species.
The lingering effects of the spill continue to significantly affect our citizen’s way of life and our state’s economy. Our state’s commercial and recreational fishing industries have been impacted and our residents have not been able to enjoy our abundant seafood and outdoor opportunities as they have done for generations.
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Links
Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Library -Presentations, Documents and Letters, Pictures and Videos
Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA)
Clean Water Act
Gulf Coast Claims Fund
The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling - Documents and Meeting Presentations
Barrier Berm Page - Experiencing the Louisiana Berm Project in Detail
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