6 Months After Gulf Oil Crisis Began, Environmental Fears and ‘Spillionaires’

BY Lea Winerman  October 22, 2010 at 6:41 PM EST

Six months after oil began flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP’s blown-out well is long capped but the effects of the spill are still being felt. Hari Sreenivasan spoke to Bob Marshall, who covers the environment and outdoors for the New Orleans Times-Picayune, about life in the Gulf six months after the spill.

Fresh oil no longer washes ashore, Marshall reported recently, but because of erosion and beach retreat, buried patches still reappear in some of the “hot spot” areas that were hardest hit.

Meanwhile, money from BP has introduced a new word into the Louisiana lexicon — “Spillionaires.” But even people who have received substantial payments from the company worry about what will happen when that money dries up, and whether they’ll be able to go back to their livelihoods of fishing and shrimping next year, Marshall says.