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Five years after disaster, much work left to do on safer drilling

Five years ago today, 11 offshore rig workers lost their lives when the crew lost control of BP's Macondo well, then being drilled by the Deepwater Horizon, a Transocean-operated semisubmersible drilling rig. The blowout caused an explosion and fire that destroyed the rig, sinking what's left to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, where it remains to this day.

The deadly accident caused oil to spew from the Macondo well for three months before it was finally capped, marking the largest offshore oil spill in history, an environmental disaster that dwarfs what was caused by the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska. BP, the company deemed most responsible for the incident, argues that the environment in the Gulf has largely bounced back. Many environmentalists vigorously dispute this view.


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.

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About this report

The sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico is the worst oil spill in U.S. history. E&E examines the response to the spill, the politics of offshore drilling, and the aftermath for Gulf species and industries.



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