On this Day, Exxon Spilled 11 Million Gallons

On March 24, 1989, in one of the worst oil spills of all time, the supertanker Exxon Valdez ran aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water.”Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline,” notes the History Channel website. “Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.”The History Channel website says, “Exxon itself was condemned by the National Transportation Safety Board and in early 1991 agreed under pressure from environmental groups to pay a penalty of $100 million and provide $1 billion over a 10-year period for the cost of the cleanup. However, later in the year, both Alaska and Exxon rejected the agreement, and in October 1991 the oil giant settled the matter by paying $25 million, less than 4 percent of the cleanup aid promised by Exxon earlier that year.”

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