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The Exxon Valdez is to date the worst oil spill to have occurred in US waters. It has been well studied and provided twenty years worth of information on how ecosystems recover from oil spills.
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Myth 1: Offshore drilling is safe.
The Deepwater Horizon Drilling Disaster is not an isolated incident and offshore oil drilling is extremely dangerous. Since 2006, the United States Minerals Management Service reports that there have been at least 21 offshore rig blowouts, 513 fires or explosions offshore and 30 fatalities from offshore oil and gas activities in the Gulf of Mexico.
Just last year, a new offshore oil drilling rig off the coast of Australia had a blowout similar to the one on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico. The Australian rig spewed approximately 16,800 gallons of crude oil daily into the Timor Sea for about 75 days.
As we can see with the Deepwater Drilling Disaster, safety measures and so-called “failsafe” mechanisms can fail, and when they do, we do not have the technology to stop ongoing oil releases, nor are we capable of effectively cleaning them up.
Image via Wikimedia Commons.
While oil-covered birds have become an emblematic image of catastrophic oil spills, sea birds aren’t the only ones affected. Oil is extremely toxic to all wildlife, and the toxic effects on marine life begins as soon as the oil hits the water.
Here are 10 examples of how marine life may be affected by the Gulf spill in the coming days, weeks and years