Aftermath: The Deepwater Horizon, Two Years on

By Amelia Hennighausen - 2012-04-27T23:08:42Z

Photograph by Jeff Schmaltz/NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team

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A Sea of Oil

For 87 days in 2010, the nation and much of the world watched transfixed as tens of thousands of barrels of oil a day gushed from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Explosions aboard the offshore drilling rig, Deepwater Horizon, killed 11 men on April 20, 2010. Seventeen people were injured. More than 100 people fled the vessel and survived.

More than two years later, the legal aftermath of the accident is taking shape. Just this week federal authorities indicted a BP engineer on obstruction of justice. Separately, a federal judge in New Orleans indicated he was "leaning" toward preliminary approval of a $7.8 billion settlement between BP and private plaintiffs. The U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the spill, and possible Clean Water Act violations related to it, continues.

Sunlight illuminates the oil slick off the Mississippi Delta on May 24, 2010, one month into the spill.

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