Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Gulf Spill: One Year Later

A year ago, the Gulf Coast region was preparing for a summer of misery. The Deepwater Horizon spill and resulting oil spill threatened to soak its tourist beaches in oil, devastate wildlife, destroy the careers of watermen and and ground the offshore oil industry. Now, months after the spill was capped, the region is heading into a summer of uncertainty. Will its natural resources rebound? Can the region's economy recover? And what's being done to prevent another disaster in the future?

We start with a look at the spill's effects on oystermen. Oysters were once a prime harvest from the Gulf of Mexico. Before the 2010 oil spill, 67 percent of the oysters Americans ate were grown and harvested there. But the oil and efforts to contain it shut down much of the region's seafood production, and many Louisiana oyster beds were killed by fresh water diverted from the Mississippi River to push oil away from shore. Our special correspondent, documentary filmmaker Michael Davie, visits with an industry leader to find out he and others are coping.

Next, anchor Thalia Assuras talks to Harry Shearer. The voice of several characters on The Simpsons is an environmental advocate, "investigative satirist," and part-time resident of New Orleans. He recently directed a documentary about Hurricane Katrina as a manmade disaster, titled "The Big Uneasy." Shearer discusses how the Gulf region is recovering from the spill and how he believes the government and industry should renew their focus on drilling safety. Correspondent Lee Patrick Sullivan follows with the story of how the spill affected one family -- and an entire industry. The spill and the ensuing drilling moratorium dealt a blow to oil drillers, but they've been devastating to family businesses that supply the industry. No drilling means no business at all, forcing people from their jobs and families to make heartbreaking decisions. Lee Patrick visits Thomas and Melissa Clements, owners of a machine shop that has practically ground to a halt since drilling ...

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