From above, five years after the BP well explosion, the Gulf of Mexico looks clean, green and whole again, teeming with life – a testament to the resilience of nature.
But there’s more than surface shimmering blue and emerald to the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill. And it’s not as pretty a picture – nor is it as clear.
Federal data and numerous scientific studies show lingering problems. Splotches of oil still dot the seafloor and wads of tarry petroleum-smelling material hide in pockets in the marshes of Barataria Bay. Dolphin deaths have more than tripled. Nests of endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles suddenly plummeted after the spill. Some fish have developed skin lesions along with oil in internal organs. Deep sea coral are hurting.