Texas A&M says Gulf is resilient 5 years after BP

Texas A&M says Gulf is resilient 5 years after BP

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A division of Texas A&M, says nearly five years after the largest oil spill in U.S. history, the Gulf of Mexico remains resilient.

The anniversary of the Macondo well blowout, which killed 11 crew members, is Monday. Between now and then, we'll be talking with several experts about the impacts of the spill, which dumped thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

The blown-out well leaked oil for four months, prompting billions of dollars in fines and settlements, some of which are still playing out. It also changed the fishing habits of many Louisianians, who rely on the Gulf for their livelihood.

Now the Harte Research Institute on the Texas A&M Corpus Christi campus, says five years after the spill, the Gulf of Mexico's resiliency can be compared to a rubber band, meaning much of it has snapped back. But some say it's too soon to measure all of the impacts.

The Harte Institute says crab and shrimp populations are back, though some in Louisiana report problems in some places, especially in the waters off east Plaquemines Parish.

But while the Harte Institute says the Gulf is recovering, they say there are still many unknowns.

"What we have to concern ourselves with are turtles - they're long-lived - and mammals, they're a concern. And the deep Gulf is like a refrigerator,  and some of that oil is still down there five years later," said Dr Larry McKinney with the Harte Institute.

Environmentalists agree.

"The big question is what about the stuff on the bottom of the Gulf? What about the stuff that's on the bottom of the Barataria Bay. No one's ever gonna find it," said David Muth with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation.

The Harte Institute says it's currently studying any place that the oil touched the bottom of the Gulf, even if it's a mile beneath the surface, as it studies the long-term impacts of the spill.

The institute says its goal is to foster science-driven solutions to Gulf of Mexico problems that affect the health and well being of people who depend on the gulf.

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