Ocean Currents

Restoring a Place I Call Home

Perspectives from a Gulf resident and ocean advocate eight years after BP Deepwater Horizon

oil on beach USA flag
Plastic American flag sits in a pool of oil at the beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama, on July 4, 2010. © Dan Anderson / EPA

Eight years. It has been that long since the Deepwater Horizon exploded, killing 11 people and triggering the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Who can forget the horror of the first few days as oil leaked into the Gulf and continued to pump from the deep-water Macondo oil well? An estimated 210 million gallons of oil and 1.8 million gallons of chemical dispersants were dumped into our ocean. It oiled our beaches, killed an untold array of marine wildlife and crippled our ocean-dependent economy.

This year, we put together this interactive timeline to remind us that we have come a long way since the 2010 disaster. The despair from that April has given way to hope and optimism. We are making steady progress towards recovery—even though the cost of full-scale Gulf of Mexico restoration far exceeds the $20.8 billion afforded by the settlement from BP. As restoration projects continue to get on the ground and in the water, it is our collective responsibility to invest wisely in projects that will help restore the Gulf.

From the start, I have been part of Ocean Conservancy’s efforts to restore the Gulf of Mexico. This is not just where I work. This is where I live, the home that 87 million others like me love.

Alexis at an oiled beach, Bay Jimmy. © Alexis Baldera

At Ocean Conservancy, I am proud to lead a team of experts dedicated to this mission. As restoration dollars are allocated, we are highlighting the importance of measuring and monitoring progress so that we can learn from our mistakes and track restoration success. We cannot afford to forget that this came at a very high cost to our coastal communities, local economies and coastal wildlife.

This year, we also stand strong with hundreds of thousands of Americans who have spoken up against the risky offshore oil and gas development proposals included in the new 5-year plan presented by the Trump Administration. The weakening of offshore oil drilling safety standards put in place after the BP disaster is particularly reckless and unacceptable.

Thank you for being part of our work and supporting the beautiful, wild and wonderful place that is the Gulf of Mexico. You have been part of our major milestones and together. We will see our home restored.

Alexis and her son at an ICC cleanup in New Orleans. © Alexis Baldera

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