We are coming up on Earth Day. We are also coming up on the anniversary of the day a giant oil rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico, triggering the BP oil disaster. And what you may not realize is — it’s the same day. As environmentally conscious people around the world were marking the 40th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, owned by Transocean and extracting oil for BP, plunged to the Gulf floor after being on fire for nearly 36 hours. You know the numbers by now. Eleven men lost their lives. For 87 days oil poured into the gulf as the emergency measures failed. On this week’s episode, we talk about the lessons learned about BP and the environmental impact of the disaster.
But we’d like to start with the people who live in the Gulf and have had to survive the spill’s impact on their lives and livelihoods. Shortly after the accident, we visited Grand Isle, Louisiana. It is a place that’s usually full of vacationers and fisherman and local merchants who depend on both. Over the course of the year, the initial shock that residents felt turned to anger, and then to the reality that the bills would still come even if the vacationers might not. In a report for The Climate Desk, Alison Stewart went back to Grand Isle two weeks ago to see what had happened since we last visited.