Two Years Later: Shoreline Impacts

Two years after the start of the oil spill, a significant stretch of the Gulf Coast remains affected.

A recent article in National Geographic quotes Jacqueline Michel, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) coordinator for the Shoreline Clean-up Assessment Program saying, “The current oiling, where you still see anything on the shoreline, is around 450 miles as of February 25.” The affected areas stretch from Louisiana to Florida.

An earlier NOAA report documented a total of 1,050 total linear miles of oiled shoreline in the period after the spill. In April 2011—one year after the spill began—mostly light oil or tar balls persisted on more than 500 linear miles of shoreline. Extrapolating from these two data points—both from NOAA—it appears that only an additional 50 or so miles have been cleaned in the past year.

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