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U.S. observes one year anniversary of Deepwater Horizon spill

by Jorge Hernandez on April 20, 2011

One year later, oil is still washing up on shores and families are still struggling to deal with the disaster's effects on their businesses – 12 months may have passed since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon sent millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but it's still fresh in the nation's mind. 

Relatives of the 11 men who died in the incident flew by helicopter over the site of the catastrophe, and vigils are scheduled along the coasts of Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, according to The Guardian.

"I can't believe tomorrow has been one year, because it seems like everything just happened," Courtney Kemp, whose husband Roy Wyatt Kemp was killed on the rig, wrote on her Facebook page, the news source reports. "I have learned a lot of things through all of this but the most important is to live each day as if it were your last … what matters is if you truly live."

Biologists are still studying the long-term effects of the oil on the local ecosystems. While scientists admit that the spill's effects weren't as bad as they could have been, other experts point to a dying dolphin population as just one of the consequences of the damage.

CoastalCare.org reports that 15 of the 406 dolphins who have washed ashore in the past 14 months have shown signs of oil on their bodies. Eighty-seven dead sea turtles have also drifted inland.

"It is significant that even a year after the oil spill we are finding oil on the dolphins, the latest just two weeks ago," Blair Mase, southeast marine mammal stranding coordinator for NOAA Fisheries, told the news source.

Many questions still linger. CNN.com reports that scientists are still trying to determine how the Gulf's food chain was affected and how the toxic dispersant used to clear the oil will impact the animals and plants in the area. 

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