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The Nation

April 20, 2011

Day of remembrance: 1 year after Gulf oil disaster

(Continued)

NEW ORLEANS —

Roseau cane is growing again where it was cut away during early cleanup efforts, but Barham said the 3- to 4-foot-high stalks should be a lush green. Instead, they were pale green and brown.

"It's because of oil in the root system," Barham said. He put his hand into the dirt and pulled up mud saturated with oil. Tossing the sludge into nearby water, it released a rainbow-colored sheen.

Barham complained that BP had not done enough to clean the area. "What they've done thus far is not working."

In the remote Louisiana marsh, there's still yellow boom in places — not to keep oil out but to keep the tides from carrying oil to untouched areas.

Confidence in Louisiana's seafood is eroding, too.

"Where I'm fishing it all looks pretty much the same," said Glen Swift, a 62-year-old fisherman in Buras. He's catching catfish and gar in the lower Mississippi River again. That's not the problem.

"I can't sell my fish," he said. "The market's no good."

But the BP spill has faded from the headlines, overtaken by the tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan, unrest in the Middle East and political clashes in Washington.

"Nationally, BP seems like a dim and distant memory," said Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University historian. But the accident will have long-lasting influence on environmental history, he said.

___

Associated Press writers Melissa Nelson in Pensacola, Fla.; Jay Reeves in Gulf Shores, Ala.; Brian Skoloff in Salt Lake City, Utah; and Harry Weber and Kevin McGill in New Orleans contributed to this report. Videographer Jason Bronis contributed from Baton Rouge, La.

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