Oil Spill Brings Attention to Delicate Gulf Coast

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For decades, farmers and fishermen along the Gulf of Mexico watched as their sensitive ecosystem’s waters slowly got dirtier and islands eroded, all while the country largely ignored the destruction.

It took BP PLC’s well blowing out in the Gulf, and the resulting environmental catastrophe when millions of gallons of oil spewed into the ocean and washed ashore, for the nation to turn its attention to the slow, methodical ruin of an ecosystem vital to the U.S. economy. Last month, more than a year and a half after the spill began, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a three-year, $50 million initiative designed to improve water quality along the coast…

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