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The count: amount of Louisiana’s shoreline that receded up to 8 meters after the BP disaster

16,000 meters


Source: NASA/U.S. Geological Survey

The BP oil disaster in 2010 accelerated coastal land loss in Louisiana, as the oil made shorelines more vulnerable to erosion. NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey revealed a "pattern of dramatic, widespread" shoreline loss in a November report looking at coastal images spanning years before and after the disaster. Areas that experienced up to 8 meters of shoreline recession in 2009 quadrupled in the year after the disaster, while areas that saw up to 12 meters of recession more than doubled.   From 2009 to 2010, recession occurred in a handful of isolated shoreline sections. But from 2010 to 2011, that recession "was widespread and affected almost all shorelines lining the interior bays and islands" of the area. The report concludes that "petroleum exposure can substantially increase shoreline recession, particularly in areas protected from storm-induced degradation and disproportionately alters small oil-exposed barrier islands relative to natural erosion."   In 2017, BP begins paying $500 million a year for wetlands restoration over the next 15 years.—ALEX WOODWARD

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