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250,000 Oil Spills in U.S. Waters, 1971-2000

Most of the oil spills were amounts of oil that are considered to be small; less than ten barrels (420 gallons), ”81 percent were less than 10 bbl.” There is something peculiar about the next statement from the report.

“There have been 11 OCS platform spills greater than or equal to 1,000 bbl since 1964. Most of the large platform spills occurred prior to 1971.”

In 1979, a 140 million gallon oil disaster took place in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil platform was owned by the Mexican government, but a gigantic oil slick which formed over almost 10 months, did eventually reach Texas shorelines, and caused significant damage. So indeed a great number of gallons of spilled oil from the platform accident did impact U.S. waters.

Also the measurement of 1,000 barrels or less is sort of misleading, as a 1969 spill near Santa Barbara was about 420,000 gallons, or 100,000 barrels, not even close to 1,000 barrels. In addition, the report does not include a single reference to the environmental impact of all the spills. For example, in the single Santa Barbara spill, it was estimated 10,000 birds were killed.

So how useful is the document? Perhaps it provides a rough baseline for the amount of oil spilled in U.S. waters for about three decades.  However, we have seen the relationship between Big Oil and the Mineral Management Service is potentially influenced by corruption and therefore the reporting that occurs may be biased in favor of the oil industry. In other words, there could be even more oil being spilled than is documented.

Related:
Armchair Activism for Oil Spill Animals
12 Animals Threatened by the Oil Spill
The Oil Spill’s Effect on Our Food System
Gulf Oil Spill Crisis: 10 Ways You Can Lend a Hand

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29 comments

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11:24AM PST on Mar 4, 2013

Mind boggling numbers

12:20AM PDT on May 30, 2012

Thanks for the great article.

2:50AM PDT on May 5, 2012

thnaks for iinfo. this article is not god.

8:52PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Oil Spill Eater II the way 250,000 spills could have been addressed safely, effectively, while actually addressing 100% of each spill converting the spills to CO2 and water.

A COMPREHENSIVE COMPARISON BETWEEN OSE II,
MECHANICAL METHODS AND CHEMICAL DISPERSANTS
IN LAYMEN’S TERMS


INTRODUCTION

Oil Spill Eater II is the name of a non-toxic product which provides the means for moving oil spill response out of its current 19th Century methodology into the realm of advanced technological 21st Century breakthroughs for swiftly addressing and remediating 100% of any spill in any environment. In comparison, current response methods employed by three major oil companies - BP, Exxon and Shell - are obsolete and obtain dismal results.

Most recently, BP, Exxon, and Shell have utilized mechanical clean up on the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil blowout, the Yellowstone River oil spill in Montana, and the recent oil spill in the North Sea, respectively. Mechanical clean up in calm seas only has the capability of remediating somewhere between 2 and 8% of a spill; a woefully inadequate response.

Also utilized in the Gulf of Mexico blowout was Exxon’s outmoded invention Corexit, a chemical dispersant licensed to Nalco Holding Company for manufacturing and distribution. The label on this horrifically toxic dispersant clearly states it can cause kidney failure and death and the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) specifically warns, “Do not conta

4:53PM PST on Jan 2, 2012

Oil (money) makes the world go round..sad, huh? Oil is leaking somewhere every single day.

11:03AM PST on Jan 1, 2012

And we're okaying more drilling. That says it all.

6:11AM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Thanks for the article.

8:42AM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

Why isn't this all over the news lines!! Can someone get a petition going to Obama? He and the oil companies completely ignore this, and as long as the broad public doesn't know, it will continue!

8:42AM PDT on Sep 14, 2011

Why isn't this all over the news lines!! Can someone get a petition going to Obama? He and the oil companies completely ignore this, and as long as the broad public doesn't know, it will continue!

3:39AM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

this gets more and more heartbreaking everyday

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