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09/10/2009

Enormous Australian Oil Spill Continues to Spread

On August 21, a blow-out from a rig off the northwestern coast of Australia began spewing oil into the Timor Sea.  At this moment, that rig is still dumping 300-400 barrels of oil into the ocean every day and is expected to do so for the next six weeks, until the spill can be contained.  Already, the slick covers about 5,800 nautical square miles of ocean.  And in its path is the West Kimberley region of the Timor Sea, considered by some to be the last untouched marine wilderness on Earth.  This area acts as a critical migration path for whales and sea turtles, to name a few among a multitude of species.  The Kimberley Coast is a mangrove-dotted, remote shore with countless islands and shoals.  If the oil were to reach that intricate network, clean-up of the spill would be virtually impossible.

This spill comes amidst the oil industry continually touting its "safe" technology and the Senate debating opening up a protected region of the Gulf of Mexico to drilling.  We consistently hear from industry of a stellar environmental record and their state-of-the-art rigs that don't spill.  The current state of the Timor Sea explodes these claims and should remind the world that the industry is still dirty.

You can see satellite photos of the spill at SkyTruth.

Watch video of the spill below:

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