Four years ago today, this image appeared on televisions around the world. And soon after that, we saw the 24-hour live feed of the well at the bottom of the Gulf, endlessly pouring gallon after gallon of oil into the water.
Almost immediately, the coastal impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster were easy to spot — oiled beaches, marshes, and pelicans. And now, four years later, we have both an opportunity and an obligation to restore the Gulf with the billions of dollars from BP. It’s easy to imagine how we would repair the coast — replant marsh grasses, rebuild barrier islands and restore oyster reefs.
Unfortunately, the damage that BP caused goes beyond what we can see from the seashore. We now know that dolphins in Louisiana are severely ill, deep-sea corals are covered in oil and BP oil can even give fish heart attacks.
But how do you restore the Gulf beyond the shore?