Five years ago on Monday, a cement seal of an oil well in the Gulf of Mexico failed and caused what has been called the worst environmental disaster in US history.
The explosion claimed the lives of 11 rig workers, 5 of which were from Louisiana. Oil and methane gas was released into the waters for 87 straight days and went as deep as 1 mile below the ocean surface. The federal government estimated, at least 172 million gallons of crude oil was released into the water.
Scientists are still studying the environmental impacts, and some effects still remain unclear. However, BP, the company that caused the spill, says it seems the gulf is healing itself. But, the government and a natural resource damage assessment say it’s too soon to make long term conclusions on the improvement. The assessment says improvements will take more than 5 years. Studies have shown negative impacts on wildlife, but others have shown some species are beginning to bounce back. However, according to the Associated Press, oil and gas drilling has bounced back and there are now a total of 48 deep water drilling rigs compared to 35, five years ago.