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What the Exxon Valdez Does and Doesn’t Mean

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill which left 11 million gallons of black petroleum deposited on a pristine Alaska coastline. The Daily Green looks at the sorry aftermath, including how Exxon, thanks to the Supreme Court, paid a penalty that was less than one percent of its annual earnings. But DG needs to work on its math.

Every year since 1993, U.S. offshore oil drilling has spilled an average of 47,800 barrels of oil into the water. At that rate, it takes about 10 years to spill as much as was spilled during the Exxon Valdez disaster. Offshore oil drilling, seen that way, is just a slow-moving spill.

Wrong.

Update: As a commenter pointed out, our math is wrong as well. We confused gallons with barrels. It will actually take just more than six years. We regret the error.

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