Ten years ago the oil tanker Exxon Valdez was torn open on Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, dumping millions of gallons of sweet crude into the water. This event was pivotal in changing environmental laws, and gave impetus to the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA ’90). Spillage of oil continues in various ways, however, at a rate that makes the Valdez incident seem almost a trifle.
The National Research Council estimated that the following sources spill far more oil on an annual basis than Exxon Valdez did in 1989. Figures given should be multiplied times 11 million gallons, the amount spilled by Valdez.Offshore drilling:
1.5Oil spills in tanker accidents:
3.5Hydrocarbon emissions from motor vehicles and industry:
12.5Used engine oil from road runoff and oil changes: