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Alaskan Oil Spill

photograph from Nature story

(before 2003)

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An oil tanker became stuck on a reef in Alaska. The rocks in the reef tore a hole in the ship. Lots of oil spilled out of the hole and into the ocean. This oil began getting on everything.

A person from the oil company said that they are trying to clean it up as fast as they can. They will pay for the entire clean up.

When the oil pipes were put across Alaska, the pipe builders said that this would not happen. A person who lives in Alaska said that they were told that they would never see this kind of problem.

A fisherman worried that an oil spill could wipe out his fishing business. The sale of oil brings in much more money than the fishing business.

The people at the pipeline company thought they were ready for a spill. They had even practiced it with a model in their office. The problem was that they did not practice with real equipment.

People complained that the clean up was not being done right. The number of workers cleaning up the mess was cut back. When the ship hit the reef, the first call was for tarps. They should have asked for equipment to to contain the oil.

The ship's captain was fired by his company. A person from the ship company said that they were upset that an officer put his ship and crew in danger like that.

The oil company could not do much about cleaning it up quickly. In 36 hours, the oil spread for twenty miles. The oil company could only put out a few thousand feet of boom to contain it. The oil spill could not be stopped.

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