It’s two weeks to the day since ExxonMobil’s Silvertip pipeline ruptured under the Yellowstone, spilling an estimated 42,000 gallons of oil into the raging waters in Laurel, Montana. When the spill started late in the evening of July 1, the river had overflowed its banks, pushing water out into the surrounding fields. This meant that the oil, too, flowed in, and when the floods receded they left a ring of black crude around this particular field, and the thick gunk still clung to the blades of grass. Most of the damage was within 50 miles of the site of the break, though oil has been reported as far as 240 miles away.
One year after the BP oil spill, tarballs like these—about the size of a child’s head—are still washing up on Gulf Coast beaches. Which explains why BP is still doing everything it can to keep reporters away, Mac McClelland reports.