BP Spill

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Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

More than two years ago, Justice Department officials held a news conference to unveil criminal charges against BP and several executives in connection with the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

But the Department of Justice task force created to hold the company and responsible individuals to account has a track record that's spotty at best.

On Friday, a federal jury in New Orleans acquitted the highest-ranking BP executive charged in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, after just five days of trial.

At the Gulf State Park Pier in Orange Beach, Ala., Wetzel Wood casts his fishing line into the rough surf of the Gulf of Mexico. He pulls his bait, a cigar minnow, through the water just beyond where the waves break for the shore.

"On a good day you'd catch king mackerel, Spanish mackerel," he says. Wood first learned to fish at the pier with his grandfather in 1969. "I've seen a lot of different things out here. It's been wonderful."

Billy Nungesser was the President of Plaquemines Parish five years ago when the BP oil disaster happened. Nungesser’s constituency of around 23,000 residents were some of the hardest hit along the Gulf Coast.

For months after the disaster, Nungesser was a constant presence on national television, taking on both industry and government officials over their handling of the spill and cleanup.

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