More than 500 cleanup specialists are working to contain 44 oil spills ranging from several hundred gallons to nearly 4 million gallons, the U.S. Coast Guard said in an assessment that goes far beyond initial reports of just two significant spills.
The Coast Guard estimates more than 7 million gallons of oil were spilled from industrial plants, storage depots and other facilities around southeast Louisiana.
That is about two-thirds as much oil as spilled from the Exxon Valdez tanker in 1989. But unlike the oil from the Valdez, which poured from a single source, these oil spills are scattered at sites throughout southeast Louisiana.
I know not all of our readers think the Exxon valdez spill was a big deal, but just to give you an idea of the estimated economic damages, a team of economists estimated the aggregate willingness to pay of U.S. households to prevent another oil spill of that size in Prince William Sound to have a lower bound of $2.8 billion and a mean of $7.19 billion.