Tuesday, April 21, 2009

U.S. Coast Guard in 2008 logged 90-plus oil spills a day

WASHINGTON, D.C. - In 2008, more than 33,000 petroleum spills were reported to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center.
Responsible for the spills are rigs, pipelines and infrastructure both on land and offshore, with the most serious health and environmental consequences coming when oil and related contaminants pollute waterways or seep into groundwater.
Pipelines and platforms accounted for more than 1,300 spills each, and storage tanks were responsible for more than 2,400 spills.
According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, a reported spill should be any "Discharges that cause a sheen or discoloration on the surface of a body of water; discharges that violate applicable water-quality standards; and discharges that cause a sludge or emulsion to be deposited beneath the surface of the water or on adjoining shorelines."
A 2002 report by the National Academies found that an average 880,000 gallons of petroleum enter North American ocean waters annually because of oil drilling and exploration each year, mainly from leaks in the Gulf of Mexico and off Southern California, northern Alaska and eastern Canada.

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