Oil spill in perspective: BP oil spill vs. Exxon Valdez

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Here’s a quick check of how two of the biggest oil spills in U.S. history measure up as of June 14. The BP spill is still growing, and the area is affected by wind patterns and ocean currents.

Cause of spill

BP: Oil well explosion

Exxon: Tanker struck a reef

Date spill began

BP: April 20, 2010

Exxon: March 24, 1989

Leak location

BP: 5,000 feet below surface

Exxon: Mostly on the surface

Total estimated spill

BP: Up to 89.4 million gallons of oil as of June 14, 2010 and growing

Exxon: 10.9 millions of gallons of oil

Total area of spill

BP: At least 2,500 square miles

Exxon: 1,300 square miles

Cost of cleanup

BP: Estimated at $15 billion to $23 billion, plus $14 billion of claims

Exxon: $2.1 billion, according to Exxon

Wildlife species affected

BP: Brown pelican, reddish egret, royal tern, snowy plover, sperm whale, bluefin tuna, sea turtle

Exxon: Salmon, sea otters, seals and sea birds

Sources: New York Times, National Wildlife Federation, Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Council, State of Alaska