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03/26/2012

Oil Spill: Uncontrolled Surface Release Dumps 1 Million Gallons in Timor Sea, Australia

Big Oil Hall of Shame

Big Oil has a shameful history. That's why we will be highlighting some of its most recent disastrous oil spills and raising awareness of the devastation that will occur if the industry is allowed to drill in the Arctic and off our coasts. Join us in the effort to protect our special places from drilling! 

For over two months the Montara Well Head, an almost brand new oil drilling platform 140 miles of the Coast of Australia, dumped between 400 and 3,000 barrels of crude oil into the ocean. Beginning on August 21, 2009, the uncontrolled spill lasted for 74 long days, and was finally capped after 105 days. The toxic oil slick covered roughly 5000 square miles of the ocean’s surface, endangering birds, fish, whales, reefs and shorelines. A rough estimate of the amount of oil spilled into the Timor Sea was 30,000 barrels. That’s over 1 million gallons of oil damaging the sea, and marine and coastal habitats, as well as important industrial fishing grounds.  

Coastlines that are exposed to oil spills can never fully be cleared of the thick oil as it becomes trapped in the sands, grasses, and rocky areas. Coral reefs die when they are subjected to clinging oil spills, and once dead, there is no recovery available. The wildlife in the affected areas face sickness and death as a result of being covered head to toe in the viscous oil.

Birds will try to preen themselves, which leads to them ingesting the poisonous oil. Their feathers and down become severely matted, and the birds can no longer fly, dive for food and keep warm. Their oiled feathers cause them to lose buoyancy, and they subsequently drown because there is no longer any air trapped in their feathers, only oil. Vast populations of fish will ingest the oil producing carcinogenic effects, which can be transferred to humans when eaten. Total marine populations can die out in areas affected by the spills, and this can last for years before the species can repopulate.

Join us in telling President Obama to protect America’s Arctic from the dangers of drilling!

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