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Oil spills can hurt wildlife, the scenic beauty of coasts, and people's livelihoods. For these reasons, government, industry, and environmental groups have sought to find ways to prevent and respond to oil spills to avoid environmental damage while minimizing the costs of moving crude oil and refined products. Oil spills do not constitute the majority of oil pollution in the oceans. A report of the National Academy of Sciences found that “nearly 85 percent of the 29 million gallons of petroleum that enter North American ocean waters each year as a result of human activities comes from land-based runoff, polluted rivers, airplanes, and small watercraft.” Nevertheless, these spills are generally dispersed—attention-grabbing oil spills are the ones that are large, near the shore, and do visible ...

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