[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/US/04/25/oil.rig.explosion/story.spill.cleanup.uscg.gi.jpg caption="A boat works to clean up oil where the Deepwater Horizon oil rig sank last week in the Gulf of Mexico." width=300 height=169]
When a massive explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana on April 20, the first concern was for the 11 workers missing after the accident. A secondary fear was the environmental impact of the oil and natural gas that could be spilled in the accident — especially once the rig sank on April 22.
The rig was producing up to 336,000 gallons of oil a day and carrying some 700,000 gallons of fuel oil at the time of the accident. A major spill would have threatened the sensitive Louisiana coast, and resulted in the worst man-made environmental disaster since the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska in 1989.
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