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The 1980's
The Exxon Valdez Brings Danger to the Environment

The Exxon Valdez Brings Danger to the Environment
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.18

     challenging words:    byproducts, compounds, burning, economy, repaired, clean-up, helmsman, response, product, helicopter, researchers, machinery, meantime, render, immediately, gasoline
     content words:    Exxon Valdez, Prince William Sound, Joseph Hazelwood, Coast Guard, Bligh Reef, United States Coast Guard, Exxon Oil Company, William Sound, San Diego

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The Exxon Valdez Brings Danger to the Environment
By Jane Runyon

1     Oil is an important product in the world's economy. Oil is used to produce gasoline that makes cars and trucks run. Oil is used to heat homes in the winter. Byproducts of oil are used in chemical compounds to make everything from band-aids to plastic bottles. Oil is often transported from country to country around the world by large ships. One of these ships almost destroyed an entire living habitat.
2     The Exxon Valdez left Valdez, Alaska, on March 24, 1989. This was a common trip for the oil tanker. It had just been filled with 52 million gallons of oil and was headed south through Prince William Sound. The captain of the ship, Joseph Hazelwood, radioed the Coast Guard station in the area. His crew had spotted some small icebergs in the water that he hoped to avoid by taking a slightly changed route. The captain then went off to bed and left the ship in the hands of his third mate.
3     The helmsman was given instructions to make a turn to the new course. The turn was not sharp enough. At 12:04 A.M., the Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef. Gallons of oil began to spill from the hull of the ship. It is estimated that approximately 11 million gallons of oil spilled into the sea before anything could be done to stop it.
4     The United States Coast Guard was called. They immediately closed the Port of Valdez to all sea traffic. No ships were allowed to come into port and no ships were allowed to leave port. Environmental response teams were assembled. There was no doubt that that much oil was going to cause great danger to plant and animal life for miles around the spill.

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