As weathered oil and dead marine life continue to wash up on Gulf shores, environmentalists worry that America has failed to heed the lessons of the summer of 2010, when an ocean of oil gushed from a broken pipe, and mesmerized a nation. – By Mike Ludwig, Truthout
On a hot summer day in June, representatives from some of the world’s richest oil companies gathered at the Superdome in New Orleans, where Interior Secretary Ken Salazar declared, “[The] Gulf of Mexico is back in business,” as he kicked off a federal auction of 39 million acres of offshore drilling leases.
The auction was the Obama administration’s second big sale of Gulf of Mexico leases since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster claimed the lives of 11 workers and released more than 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf. BP bid nearly $240 million that day, just two years after the catastrophic blowout, and gobbled up 43 drilling leases in the same central region of the Gulf where the company struggled for months to stop the oil gushing from the now-infamous Macondo well.
Six weeks after the auction, Hurricane Isaac spewed tar balls and large oil slicks along the Gulf shore, from Alabama to Louisiana. Lab tests confirmed the storm had churned up remnants from the massive BP spill, a grim reminder that oil continues to impact ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico.
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