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Over the course of the last year, the NewsHour has been checking in with Associated Press photographer Gerald Herbert, a New Orleans native who began covering the Gulf oil spill when BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded and sunk -- a disaster that began 12 months ago today.

It was an event that killed 11 rig workers and sparked one of the biggest environmental catastrophes in U.S. history.

Herbert was part of a reporting team that provided the only shots of the immediate aftermath of the explosion and he has spent the majority of his time ever since criss-crossing the region, meeting with family members who lost loved ones aboard the Deepwater Horizon and documenting the effects of the spill's reach on the local wildlife and ecology.

"Looking back over the last year, it's been an exhausting process," Herbert said from the AP's New Orleans bureau.

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