Editor's note: "AC360º" returns to the Gulf Coast region a year after the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, at 10 ET Wednesday night. What has been done to clean up the mess, and who is accountable?
(CNN) - A daughter will walk down the aisle this year without her father. A rig survivor still awakens at night and screams. A native American tribe in Louisiana now eats pork, chicken and beans instead of oysters and crab.
And the voice of a Cajun musician puts everything into perspective about last year's oil spill. For years, Tab Benoit had strummed a dire tune of the pillaging of Louisiana's coast.
"Before all this, you'd try to warn people about problems that were coming, and they'd think you're a conspiracy theorist," he says. "The blowout wasn't a mystery. ... It's not like it was a surprise, ya' know."
A year into the nation's worst oil disaster, BP has launched a public relations campaign about "making it right." In a 20-minute video released on the company's website, group chief executive Bob Dudley sits at a polished wood table and says the disaster is a "tragedy we deeply regret at BP."
"In everything we've done since that day, we've tried to act as a responsible company should," he says. "I know it will take time to win back people's respect and it will take actions rather than words. But I hope this helps to demonstrate that we are sorry, that we learned the lessons and we are committed to earning back your trust."
The video then chronicles BP's efforts to contain the spill in the days, weeks and months following the April 20, 2010, explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling platform.
The plume of crude billowing into the Gulf of Mexico has stopped, and images of oil-soaked birds have subsided. But take a closer look at the Gulf region and you'll find shattered lives and angry - yet determined - residents.
CNN Political Unit
Washington (CNN) – One year after the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, support for offshore oil drilling has rebounded despite concerns that the federal government cannot prevent another massive oil spill, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 69 percent of Americans favor increased offshore drilling, with just over three in ten opposed. That 69 percent is up 20 points from last June, while the oil spill was still in progress, and is back to the level of support seen in the summer of 2008.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/12/15/gulf.oil.lawsuits/story.gulfbp.suit.gi.jpg caption="Workers clean oil from the BP oil spill on Mississippi's Waveland beach December 6, 2010." width=300 height=169]
CNN Wire Staff
Washington (CNN) - The federal government Wednesday joined the dozens of lawsuits against BP and several other companies over the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, seeking unlimited penalties against all but one firm.
In a lawsuit filed in New Orleans, the Justice Department accuses BP, its partners in the ruptured well and drilling contractor Transocean of failing to take "necessary precautions" to prevent or control the April 20 blowout. The spill eventually dumped an estimated 205 million gallons (4.9 million barrels) of crude into the Gulf over nearly three months.
"We intend to hold them fully accountable for their violations of the law," Attorney General Eric Holder said in announcing the lawsuit.
The suit asks the court for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and to declare eight of the defendants liable without limitations under the federal Oil Pollution Act. It asks a court to impose all removal costs and damages caused by the oil spill, including damages to natural resources, on the companies, according to the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Fines under the Clean Water Act can run up to $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said
"This is about getting a fair deal for the region that suffered enormous consequences from this disaster, and it's also about securing the future of the Gulf," Jackson said.
The suit will join nearly 80 others that have been consolidated before a federal judge in New Orleans. The defendants include BP and oil companies MOEX and Anadarko, which were partners in the Macondo well off Louisiana; Transocean and its partner, Triton Asset Leasing; and Transocean insurer QBE/Lloyd's. The insurer is the only company not being sued under the Clean Water Act or and the only company against which the government is not seeking unlimited damages.