1. BP is gunning to get back to drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. When the Department of Interior issued its first deepwater permit since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, it was for a well that BP owns half of. Earlier this month, company officials also announced that they are seeking an agreement with the US government to resume drilling at their 10 deepwater wells in the Gulf this July, arguing that they will follow tougher safety rules, the New York Times reported earlier this month. This comes even as the government is said to be considering manslaughter charges against the oil giant for the deaths of 11 workers last year.
2. People are sick. Nearly three-quarters of Gulf coast residents that the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, an environmental justice group, polled this year reported health concerns that they believe are related to the spill. Of the 954 residents in seven coastal communities, almost half said they had experienced health problems like coughing, skin and eye irritation, or headaches that are consistent with common symptoms of chemical exposure. While the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is conducting health monitoring for spill cleanup workers, residents in the areas closest to the spill are concerned that their own health problems have gone unattended.
3. Fish and other sea life in the Gulf are still struggling after the disaster. The death toll for dolphins and whales in the Gulf may have been 50 times higher than the number of bodies found, according to a recent paper in Conservation Letters. Earlier this year, a large number of dead dolphin calves were found on the coast, and scientists have linked many of those deaths to the oil disaster. Anglers are also reporting dark lesions, rotting fins, and discoloration in the fish they're catching in the Gulf, as the St. Petersburg Times reported last week.
4. While those most affected by the spill are still waiting for payments, some state and local officials have been making bank off the disaster. As the Associated Press reported recently, some local governments have been using the $754 million from BP to buy iPads, SUVs, and laptops. Meanwhile, BP just gave another $30 million to Florida to help entice tourists onto its beaches this summer.
5. Congress hasn't changed a single law on oil and gas drilling in the past year. A year later, the liability cap for companies that cause a major spill is still just $75 million, companies with dismal safety records can still obtain new leases, and they can still avoid compensating families when workers die on rigs. In January, the National Oil Spill Commission released 300 pages of findings and recommendations that Congress has largely ignored.