The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

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THE EXXON VALDEZ OIL SPILL

Whats an oil spill ?
Oil spills happen when people make mistakes or are careless and cause an oil tanker to leak oil into the ocean. There are a few more ways an oil spill can occur. Equipment breaking down may cause an oil spill. If the equipment breaks down, the tanker may get stuck on shallow land. When they start to drive the tanker again, they can put a hole in the tanker causing it to leak oil.

The Exxon Valdez oil spill:
On March 24, 1989 at 4 minutes past midnight, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Alaska's spectacular Prince William Sound. An environmental nightmare began that changed not only Prince William Sound, but the world. No longer would people blindly believe promises from corporations that their operations were completely safe. It is considered one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur at sea. As significant as the Valdez spill was, it ranks well down on the list of the world's largest oil spills in terms of volume released. The region was a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds. The vessel spilled 10.8 million U.S. gallons of Prudhoe Bay crude oil into the sea, and the oil eventually covered 11,000,000 square miles of ocean. According to official reports, the ship was carrying 54.1 million U.S. gallons of oil, of which 10.8 million U.S.gallons were spilled into the Prince William Sound. This figure has become the consensus estimate of the spill's volume. Some groups dispute the official estimates, maintaining that the volume of the spill has been underreported.

Consequences:

Both the long and short-term effects of the oil spill have been studied comprehensively. The death toll in terms of wildlife was staggering, the full impact may never be known. Thousands of animals died immediately; the best estimates include 250,000 to as many as 500,000 seabirds, at least 1,000 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald...
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