Pictured here on April 13, 2011, Barataria Bay — part of Louisiana's Barataria Basin — was one of the hardest hit areas in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Today, obvious signs of the spill have faded, but communities are still reeling from its effects.
Credit Mario Tama / Getty Images
Orange Beach, Ala., Environmental Manager Phillip West holds a tar ball that has washed onto the area's sugar-white sand beaches. He says the clumps of weathered oil come in when the surf is rough — an indication that two years later, there's still oil lingering offshore.
Credit Debbie Elliott / NPR
Two years later, this Bay Jimmy island is part of 200 miles of Louisiana shoreline still fouled by the BP oil spill. A layer of oil has hardened along the coast, creating a thick layer of asphalt-like tar that's choking the edge of the marsh and accelerating an already alarming rate of coastal erosion.
It's been two years since the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 rig workers and unleashing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The oil has long stopped flowing and BP spent billions of dollars to clean up oiled beaches and waterways, but the disaster isn't necessarily over.
Oil fouled some 1,100 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline, but today, in most spots, you can't see obvious signs of the spill. In Orange Beach, Ala., the clear emerald waters of the Gulf roll onto sugar-white sand beaches.
In the early 1990s, The Education of Little Tree became a publishing phenomenon. It told the story of an orphan growing up and learning the wisdom of his Native American ancestors, Cherokee Texan author Forrest Carter's purported autobiography.
The U.S. Forest Service has a cow problem: six dead cows. They were discovered inside a cabin, piled up and frozen solid in the Colorado backcountry. The cabin is at Conundrum Hot Springs at 11,200 feet, accessible only by a precipitous hike. And rangers are trying to figure out how to get rid of the carcasses before they decompose.
Scott Snelson is district ranger for the Aspen-Sopris District at the White River National Forest where the cows were found. And he joins me now.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
Bipartisanship is rare on Capitol Hill these days but one bill is gaining support from both Republicans and Democrats. There's a problem, though, the Obama administration is leery of it.
As NPR's Michele Kelemen reports, the bill involves human rights abuses in Russia. And U.S. diplomats are worried it could complicate relations at a time when the U.S. needs Russia's backing on a range of issues.
This week, music is bringing Americans and Russians together in a way that policy discussions never can. And don't call that a cliche in front of the music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
If U.S. relations with Russia have hit a sticky patch over Syria and other issues lately, that didn't stop the Chicago Symphony from thrilling a Russian audience this past Wednesday night, just as it did on its last visit — to the then-Soviet Union in 1990.