'It's Not Over': Oil Remains as Life Goes On 6 Months After BP Spill

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"You tell me what that is. That's oil," Foche said. "What else is it? What's gonna happen to this shrimp five years from now? Is anybody gonna be able to eat it? That's what I want to know."

The government insists the seafood is safe. In 30,000 samples tested, it says there hasn't been a single trace of oil. However, the Gulf's famous oysters have been devastated because of the freshwater flooding intended to keep the oil out of the Mississippi River Delta.

"Too much fresh water causes oysters to die and that's what happened," said Al Sunseri, owner of the 134-year-old P&J Oysters in New Orleans. "It was a Catch-22. We had to do it. We had to keep the oil at bay and it worked."

He said it will take three to five years for the oysters to come back; meanwhile, his business is down by 85 percent.

Sunseri now makes his own delivers since he's fired most of his staff. He opened his giant cooler, normally brimming with sacks of oysters. A few cardboard boxes of oysters sat in the corner.

"And from Washington State!" he said.

For Oyster Business, a 'Catch-22'

He hasn't yet filed for damages but 200,000 others have and more than $1.4 billion has been disbursed from a $20 billion BP compensation fund. So far only 500 claims have been denied.

In addition to the compensation fund, BP has paid out $965 million total -- $569 million to locals who helped in the Vessels of Opportunity cleanup program and $396 million to fishermen and others who lost money during the spill.

For Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, however, the fight isn't over because he says the response to the spill remains scattered. "I can't tell you who's in charge. ... [There's] a new guy at BP, new guy in the Coast Guard."

The Natural Resources Defense Council's Lehner said there was a real concern in the Gulf that the rest of the country was moving on from the spill crisis.

"Obviously for the family and friends, the 11 people who died, this is certainly not over," he said. "For the people who lost a year's income. ... And for all of those who are uncertain about their future, this isn't over."

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