1. GULF SPILL:
Political, bureaucratic brawls threaten restoration hopes
Five years ago, the massive, 87-day Deepwater Horizon oil spill dealt a major blow to the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and the economies that rely on it, smothering wildlife, shutting down commercial fisheries and emptying beaches from Texas to Florida. Now, in a twist of fate, the disaster is offering an unprecedented opportunity to repair problems that had the ecosystem in a downward spiral even before the spill. But where there’s big money, there are big political battles.