Gulf oil spill: One year later

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April 18, 2011, 5:49 pm
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(NECN: Lauren Collins) - A full year later crews still comb the beaches of the Gulf Coast - a continued effort to clean up after the Deepwater Horizon blast.

"One has to realize that when you have that much oil coming out of a well every single day for 87 days, you're going to have damage," says Dr. Nancy Kinner, the head of the Coastal Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.  

The disaster put the region's wildlife - and way of life - in jeopardy.  But Dr. Kinner says that potentially catastrophic damage, wasn't.

"Speaking to what could have been there," remarks Dr. Kinner, "with 200 million gallons of oil coming out of that well, it is minimal."  

Dr. Kinner says that's largely because of the controversial call to use dispersants to minimize the amount of oil that reached the shore.  That decision made the slick harder to skim, but dramatically limited the number of birds, fish, and other species disastrously affected.  The seafood industry too - while hit hard by perceptions -escaped a tainted stock.  

"The decision to use dispersants was really all about picking the least bad decision."

On a recent trip to New Hampshire Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said the region has its fingers crossed that the tourism industry will bounce back as the beaches brighten.:

"That was the catastrophe for us, was the economic impact.  People thinking that the gulf was not a place you wanted to take your family," said the Governor.  

Hope is on the horizon now, but locals who watched oil gush into the gulf for months on end know there's still cause for concern:

"We still have to look for another year or two or three years before we actually see if there's something there that's not apparent," said Barbour.

Tags: Lauren Collins, Deepwater Horizon, Gulf oil spill
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