American Morning

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April 20th, 2011
10:21 PM ET

CNN In Depth: Gulf wildlife one year later

By CNN Meteorologist Rob Marciano

One year into this oil disaster, there seems to be more questions than answers when it comes to the vast ecosystem that is the Gulf of Mexico.

Nature is resilient and can recover from most catastrophic events, given enough time. Most scientists believe the Gulf will eventually recover, but when and at what costs?

Since Jan. 1, more than 220 sea turtles and 175 dolphins have washed up dead on gulf shore beaches. Test results confirming a direct link to the BP oil spill won’t be available for months. This is partly because good science takes time, but mostly because this information, along with a slew of other evidence, is being gathered to build a case for litigation against BP.

Dirty water, damaged habitat, and dead animals all are being quantified to bring dollars back to restore the Gulf. Of all the solutions to the countless problems one seems to get the most attention: The Mississippi. Man-made levees and canals have changed the way the river feeds the gulf and its wetlands. Allow the river to “spread the ecological wealth” a bit by opening up the outflow and/or periodically releasing water/nutrients further upriver so the Mississippi Delta can replenish the wetlands that have been disappearing at astonishing rates for decades. Just a thought among many good ideas that may now be possible given the attention and dollars that will be produced from an eventual legal settlement.

Reporting on this disaster during the past year has brought me closer to these incredible creatures than I’d ever imagined. It’s heart breaking to see the fatalities increasing at such alarming rates. Turtle and dolphin deaths this year are 10 to 15 times higher than normal. The Institute for Marine Mammals Studies in Gulfport has been busy testing these animals while also rehabilitating rescued ones during this event.

On this anniversary date, we felt it proper to spend the day at their facility. While here, I got to meet a couple of their resident “retired” dolphins, just 2 more amazing critters I’ve gotten to know on this assignment. See my report below.

Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill
April 20th, 2011
02:56 PM ET

Colt 45 Blast's fruity flavors, hip-hop design enticing teen drinkers?

Fruity flavors. An endorsement from Snoop Dogg. 12% alcohol.

With it’s bright packaging is Pabst Brewing Co.’s newest alcoholic beverage Colt 45 Blast attracting younger drinkers?

The new neon drink is a fruity blend with twice the alcohol as the original Colt 45 malt liquor, which has 6% alcohol. The 23-ounce canned drink comes in four flavors: strawberry lemonade, blueberry pomegranate, grape and raspberry watermelon.

Today on American Morning Jason Carroll talks to a watchdog group and a lawmaker who say Colt 45 Blast’s marketing is targeting teenage drinkers. What do you think? How does it compare to Four Loko, the caffeinated alcoholic beverage made popular among college drinkers?

Filed under: American Morning
April 20th, 2011
11:45 AM ET

Addiction to prescription pain killers a growing trend in the U.S.

Drug overdoses between 1999 and 2006 have more than doubled, from 11,000 to 26,000. The heightened numbers are reportedly linked to prescription pain killers.

Dr. Kent Robertshaw of Columbia University talks to Kiran Chetry about the growing trend of prescription pain killer addiction in the U.S.

Filed under: Health • U.S.
April 20th, 2011
08:58 AM ET

Inkley: 'This impact could last for many, many years'

Wednesday marks one year since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico.

11 workers were killed in the explosion and 200 million gallons of oil were released into the surrounding environment. So, what is the state of the Gulf Coast one year after the devastation began?

American Morning speaks to Doug Inkley, senior scientist for the National Wildlife Federation, about the state of the Gulf Coast one year after the spill.

Filed under: Energy • Environment • Oil Spill • U.S.
April 20th, 2011
08:57 AM ET

Bachmann: 'We need to get more money in the hands of real people'

Rep. Michele Bachmann talks to Ali Velshi about today's top political issues including the possibility of entering the 2012 Presidential race, the United States' deficit, and the debt ceiling.

Filed under: Politics • U.S.
April 20th, 2011
07:08 AM ET

Still a lot of uncertainty in Gulf Coast one year after oil spill

Dean Blanchard, a 25-year veteran of the seafood business, is the President of Dean Blanchard Seafood Inc. and was hit hard by last year's oil spill.

American Morning spoke with Blanchard in the wake of the oil spill and catches up with Blanchard one year later.

Filed under: Energy • Environment • Oil Spill • U.S.