TeachersFirst's Oil Spill Resources

Other TeachersFirst Special Topics Collections

This collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about oil spills and the short and long term impact on the environment caused by these environmental disasters. As students read and see images of  animals, be aware that younger students may have more questions than they can explain. Use these resources together with your class to help them find ways they can contribute to a greater good after such a devastating event spreads across the news.

Extend the opportunity to teach about persuasive writing (letters to legislators or the editor), careers in environmental science, and more.

 

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Oil Spill Lesson Plans and Resources - NOAA

Grades
3 to 12
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Learn about the impact of oil spills. Use these lessons and information to compare the impact of spills past and present. The site provides details about cleaning up oil spills, ...more
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Learn about the impact of oil spills. Use these lessons and information to compare the impact of spills past and present. The site provides details about cleaning up oil spills, as well as the science of oil dispersal, how to clean animals, and more.

tag(s): disasters (39), oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities on this site! Be sure to save this site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on. Students can select different aspects of oil spill cleanup and mitigation and play the role of experts in a mock blog post playing their role. Have students continue their role play by commenting on each other's posts.

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Prince William Sound: An Ecosystem in Transition - NOAA

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6 to 12
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Learn about the lasting impact of oil spills and how the environment does and does not recover, specifically from the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989. Use this information to compare the...more
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Learn about the lasting impact of oil spills and how the environment does and does not recover, specifically from the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present. The site provides details about the impact the spill had on the sound and wildlife, as well as how recovery has progressed over the years.

tag(s): environment (317), oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard for discussions about the environmental impact of oil spills and, in a broader sense, of human activity in general. Share some of the text portions on a projectir or divide up the site among different student groups. Have student groups explore various aspects of oil spills and report to the class, perhaps sharing visuals from this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This tool allows for to narrating and adding text to a picture. Challenge students to find a photo of the oil spill, and then narrate the photo as if it were a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.

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Prince William's Oily Mess: A Tale of Recovery - NOAA

Grades
6 to 12
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"How does an ecosystem recover from a major one-time insult such as an oil spill?" This site provides details about the impact the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989 on the environment, ...more
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"How does an ecosystem recover from a major one-time insult such as an oil spill?" This site provides details about the impact the Exxon-Valdez spill of 1989 on the environment, as well as how the recovery that has occurred in the area. Learn about the impact of oil spills, in general. Use this information to compare the impact of this spill to others past and present.

tag(s): environment (317), oil (45), oil spill (21), sound (101)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a springboard for current events or environmental science discussions about the environmental impact of oil spills and, in a broader sense, of human activity in general. Have student groups explore various aspects of oil spills and report to the class, perhaps sharing visuals form this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. As a class or in groups, collect oil spill information on a class wiki, GlogsterEDU (reviewed here) or good, old-fashioned bulletin board.

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Ifitwasmyhome - Ifitwasmyhome.com

Grades
3 to 12
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This site hosts an interactive map, along with bountiful information about the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010. The interactive map updates daily during the aftermath of the ...more
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This site hosts an interactive map, along with bountiful information about the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010. The interactive map updates daily during the aftermath of the spill, allowing users to chart the gradual growth of the spill in the Gulf Coast. It also allows users to "move the spill" to their hometown, providing a better perspective of how big the spill actually is. The information on the site is mostly specific to this spill, but there are connections to how wildlife has been affected by this and others like it in the past. Note the links on the bottom that host information about other spills, and the dramatic pictures of the wildlife suffering from the sludge. The images are graphic, so use with caution in an elementary classroom where students are apt to react strongly to images of animals suffering.

tag(s): oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

This site and information it hosts are great at capturing two essential skills in Social Studies. To begin with, it's an excellent map reading source, especially to demonstrate regarding map distortions and how they can change the shape of something like a projected oil spill. It also highlights concerns about deep-sea drilling, a heavily contested topic, particularly after the oil spill of 2010. Both government and earth science classrooms could investigate aspects of drilling as real world topics related to the curriculum.

Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing cooperative learning groups to explore, giving the teacher a chance to explain how the map works and what kind of information is on the site. Have cooperative learning groups explore the site and summarize important details, such as how people and wildlife are affected by environmental disasters. This would be a great review activity before a debate on deep-sea drilling. Classes can also chart the growth of the spill for a period of days to trace how much it changes, providing evidence for the debate. Government classes could use this and other references as part of a simulation on how the U.S. government reacts to environmental disasters and discussions of related policy issues. Younger students will need assistance reading some of the text-based material.

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Power Up! - Thinkfinity

Grades
5 to 8
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This site is an interactive simulation where participants need to power up the city and stay within the city's budget in the process. The activity appears simple, but requires thinking...more
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This site is an interactive simulation where participants need to power up the city and stay within the city's budget in the process. The activity appears simple, but requires thinking and calculation to successfully fuel the city. Learn about solar, oil, and natural gas power, see how it impacts the environment and the funds required. This game is also available as a multiplayer online game that can be downloaded here.

tag(s): energy (198), environment (317), money (193), oil (45), sun (71)

In the Classroom

The site would be great for an environmental science unit or a cross-curriculum science and math unit. Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This activity would work well for individuals on laptops. Have students partner up and try to successfully fuel a city without breaking the budget!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Planet Forward - The George Washington University

Grades
7 to 12
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Use Planet Forward for first rate and up-to-date news and information about the environment. View the vast amount of resources on this site including: "In the Spotlight," "Viewpoints,"...more
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Use Planet Forward for first rate and up-to-date news and information about the environment. View the vast amount of resources on this site including: "In the Spotlight," "Viewpoints," and "Blog articles" among others. Use quizzes about environmental issues, widgets to place in blogs or sites, and videos about issues. Use the "Classroom Resources" page for great ideas, discussions starters, and guides. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), oil (45), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Where do you start? There is so much information on this site that is continually updated and interesting! Use the "Facts, Myths, and What most Americans know about energy" page to initiate discussions and identify misconceptions for study. Create student groups in major environmental categories such as Air Pollution, Energy Use, and Consumer Issues to mine the site for information. Create blog posts about issues, and create students' own surveys to identify local misconceptions to compare to those discussed on the site. Encourage students to apply their findings and information locally by writing for a local or school newspaper or to be interviewed about student work. Students can create videos, wiki pages, or other multimedia products to produce content, dispel or challenge myths, and create understanding of issues. Conventional products such as display boards, posters, and other announcements can also be created. Have students create online posters using a tool such as Tabblo (reviewed here). Make every day Earth Day by tying class topics into ecology issues. Use the "Fast Facts about Energy" section to choose eye catching charts as a starter to engaging discussions in the classroom. Use the charts and ask students to brainstorm questions and make observations in groups prior to class discussions. Use the questions as a springboard for student research.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The Dirt on Soil - Discovery Education

Grades
2 to 6
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View what lives in the soil. Learn the difference between soil and dirt, and look at soil profiles. Join the "Soil Safari" to navigate through the soil layers and view ...more
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View what lives in the soil. Learn the difference between soil and dirt, and look at soil profiles. Join the "Soil Safari" to navigate through the soil layers and view microscopic soil creatures and learn how chemicals can destroy the soil. The interactive Soil Safari challenges students to find a soil organism that can eat a certain chemical. They must find it in time to save the meadow! Hurry! Don't forget you need Flash for the fun. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): chemicals (40), earth (228), earth day (112), oil (45), soil (17)

In the Classroom

Use this site to earn about layers of the soil and organisms found there. Analyze soil core samples from areas in the community to determine soil composition and view some of the soil under a microscope. Use information from the site to identify environmental concerns in your or other areas. Have the students work with partners and try out the interactive challenge. This site could bring new meaning to "earth" day!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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One Life: The Mask of Lincoln - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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Art, history, and government teachers will all delight in this informative website about Lincoln. There are pictures, detailed information, and even podcasts answering some famous questions...more
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Art, history, and government teachers will all delight in this informative website about Lincoln. There are pictures, detailed information, and even podcasts answering some famous questions (such as Why Did Lincoln Grow a Beard). You will also see the works of Mathew Brady. Take your students on the "Audio Tour" of the exhibit - be sure to turn up the volume! Specific topics cover "The Rise of Lincoln," "The Civil War," and "Lincoln's Contemporaries." This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), lincoln (86), oil (45), presidents (131)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to take your students on the audio tour of the exhibit which features several podcasts. Art teachers, share the pictures with your students (especially the podcast about the cracked portrait). This site also provides some excellent research information. Have students work in cooperative learning groups to explore this site and then create a project: blog entry, wiki, video, PowerPoint, or something more "traditional."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Strange But True - sciencemuseum

Grades
3 to 8
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This simple website is fun for all ages. Students are presented with five questions (that are "strange but true"). Each of the questions is related to various forms of energy ...more
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This simple website is fun for all ages. Students are presented with five questions (that are "strange but true"). Each of the questions is related to various forms of energy and inventions that use some type of energy. The forms of energy include solar energy, wind turbines, magnetic force, and oil. You will be amazed at some of the creative inventions. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): energy (198), oil (45)

In the Classroom

Set-up your interactive whiteboards and make this quick five question challenge a class activity. What an intriguing website to share at the start of a unit about energy or inventions.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Energy's Kids Page - U.S. Department of Energy

Grades
K to 12
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This easy-to-navigate resource provides information on various forms of energy: classroom activities, science fair experiments, and more. There are six main sections. Energy Facts...more
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This easy-to-navigate resource provides information on various forms of energy: classroom activities, science fair experiments, and more. There are six main sections. Energy Facts provides information about renewable sources of energy (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro, and ocean) and non-renewable sources of energy (oil, natural gas, uranium, and coal). Information is also provided about electricity, hydrogen, the uses of energy, the science of energy, and saving energy. The Fun & Games link features riddles, interactive field trips, energy slang, puzzles, quizzes, and more. The Energy History link provides an energy timeline and information about famous people who made significant contributions to science in the field of energy. Visit the Classroom Activities link to find countless activities for all grades -- organized by level and topic, plus science fair ideas and more. The Related Links and

tag(s): coal (14), electricity (89), energy (198), oil (45)

In the Classroom

Use the Energy Sudoku puzzle as an anticipatory set for a lesson or unit on energy. Either print the puzzle for students or project the puzzle on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) and make the Sudoku puzzle a class challenge. Many of the classroom activities use web links. The Acrobat (pdf) handouts are ready to go for an activity on laptops or as a classroom computer center. Other lessons offer learning opportunities that do not require technology.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Who's Got What? - sciencemuseum

Grades
3 to 12
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This interactive website displays the natural energy resources found throughout the world. This website is appropriate for any grade studying and/or researching natural resources and/or...more
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This interactive website displays the natural energy resources found throughout the world. This website is appropriate for any grade studying and/or researching natural resources and/or forms of energy. To use the map, you simply click on one of the eight symbols at the bottom left-side. Resources include gas, oil, sunshine, uranium, wood, coal, wind, and geothermal. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): coal (14), earth (228), earth day (112), electricity (89), energy (198), natural resources (59), oil (45), resources (112)

In the Classroom

What a fabulous resource for any class studying various forms of energy and natural resources found throughout the world. This would be an excellent addition to a science class studying about energy, or a geography class learning about the resources found on the various continents of the world. Even earth science classes can locate resources and explain how the geology of these areas provides the resources.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Fractional Distillation - Think Bank

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6 to 12
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This interactive web challenge requires students to place six different chemicals at the correct temperature on the large fractional distillation thermometer. The six chemicals include...more
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This interactive web challenge requires students to place six different chemicals at the correct temperature on the large fractional distillation thermometer. The six chemicals include kerosene, petrol, naptha for chemicals, diesel oil for fuel, refinery gas for fuel, and residue for fuel, lubricants and road tar. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): oil (45)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard. After studying about matter and distillation, challenge the class to put the substances in the correct order for ONE whole-class quiz grade. Appoint one student to act as "Vanna White" while classmates discuss (and argue) about what the correct placement should be.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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A Painting a Day - Duane Keiser

Grades
4 to 12
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If Blogspot sites are not blocked in your school, you can visit this artist's blog (actually a cluster of them) to see a new painting every few days, watch videos ...more
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If Blogspot sites are not blocked in your school, you can visit this artist's blog (actually a cluster of them) to see a new painting every few days, watch videos of how paintings were made, or click over to his oil painting Process blog to see the steps in that process. Although the site is intended for the artist to sell his paintings, his willingness to share his process and works will give your students a window into an artist's creativity and use of materials.

tag(s): oil (45), painting (66)

In the Classroom

Share the site on a projector or interactive whiteboard as you introduce painting techniques or art elements. Look for common themes or techniques in his work. If you have an interactive whiteboard, students can even "draw" on top of the works to show what they see or analyze movement, shape, and line. As a class, you may want to comment back to the artist. If you do this together as a teacher-controlled entry, you can protect student safety on the Internet while participating in dialog with the artist, a real-world "expert."

Videos use YouTube and may be blocked on your school network. Test the site at school before counting on it for a lesson plan! If you are able to show the "Ice Cream" video, your students will really SEE painting in progress with kid-friendly subject matter!

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A Walk in the Forest - Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Grades
4 to 8
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Take these interactive "walks" in a virtual temperate forest of Virginia to learn about biodiversity, soil study, tree identification, seasonal change, forest mapping, amphibians, and...more
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Take these interactive "walks" in a virtual temperate forest of Virginia to learn about biodiversity, soil study, tree identification, seasonal change, forest mapping, amphibians, and more. The walks are part of a larger set of modules on Conservation done by the National Zoo. Each "walk" is available with or without narration. The download is quite lengthy for the narrated version during peak time periods, even over a broadband connection, but weaker readers can more easily understand this spoken version. The small links to each option are below the clip art icons with the descriptions. There are also Acrobat Reader files of teacher materials. Correlation to Virginia science standards is available.

tag(s): biodiversity (38), diversity (36), oil (45), seasons (37), soil (17)

In the Classroom

Assign the students to take the "walks" to learn specific terms and concepts. You may want to start by modeling one of them on a projector. Note: If the download time is a problem, do them as a whole-class activity on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Once you have downloaded the "walk," it will run smoothly. Peak traffic on the site is likely between 11 am and 2 pm Eastern time due to traffic from throughout the U.S.

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The Science of Gardening - Exploratorium

Grades
6 to 8
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Students can explore the science and art behind garden plants to reveal the details of soil, plant reproduction, and garden pests with this beautifully crafted site. Videos, photographic...more
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Students can explore the science and art behind garden plants to reveal the details of soil, plant reproduction, and garden pests with this beautifully crafted site. Videos, photographic essays, and interactive galleries supplement the scientific content.

tag(s): oil (45), reproduction (9), soil (17)

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Rocks and Soils - BBC

Grades
2 to 4
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This highly interactive, audio-visual site introduces students to a variety of rocks and their characteristics. Place each sample - slate, granite, marble, pumice and chalk - into...more
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This highly interactive, audio-visual site introduces students to a variety of rocks and their characteristics. Place each sample - slate, granite, marble, pumice and chalk - into the virtual tester to discover which is permeable, which can be split, and which can float. Drag the magnifying glass over each rock to reveal common uses. Includes an interactive quiz.

tag(s): oil (45), rocks (49), soil (17)

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Bering Sea Oil Spill - Responses - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This New York Times article discusses the efforts to assess the impact of the grounding of an oil-laden freighter off Unalaska island in 2004. ...more
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This New York Times article discusses the efforts to assess the impact of the grounding of an oil-laden freighter off Unalaska island in 2004.

tag(s): alaska (25), oil (45), oil spill (21), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

Use this article in a discussion of oil spills and other human caused disasters. Have students read the article "popcorn" style in class, with a student reading a paragraph and then randomly selecting another student to read another paragraph, and continuing passing along reading until the article is complete. Compare the effects of this oil spill to that of the 2010 BP oil spill, noting with students the dramatically different results when even more oil is spilled. This would be great for an earth sciences or government classroom.

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Costa Rica: Land of Pure Life - PBS

Grades
5 to 7
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From volcanoes to marine turtles, explore some of Costa Rica's natural wonders. Two lesson plans - one on frogs, the other on volcanic soil - are included in the Teacher ...more
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From volcanoes to marine turtles, explore some of Costa Rica's natural wonders. Two lesson plans - one on frogs, the other on volcanic soil - are included in the Teacher Resources section. While a bit heavy on text, and a bit lacking in photographs, the site has great content for student research. Aligned to national standards.

tag(s): oil (45), soil (17), volcanoes (61)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and classroom activities hosted within the "Teacher Resources" portion of this site. This could be a great resource for a World History classroom, or for a Earth Sciences class.

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Virtual Oil Well - American Geological Institute

Grades
9 to 12
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This fun and interactive game presents students with a real-life scenario: You have inherited two million dollars and mineral rights to an eight-square mile tract of land; however,...more
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This fun and interactive game presents students with a real-life scenario: You have inherited two million dollars and mineral rights to an eight-square mile tract of land; however, to collect the inheritance, you must commit to drilling for oil on the land. The objective is to find the oil before your money runs out. The site provides guidance in the form of a glossary, background information, and virtual consultants, but the task is anything but easy! This is truly a challenging and thought-provoking activity that will strengthen your students' problem-solving skills and reveal the complex process behind drilling for oil. You might want to divide your class into small groups for this interactive experience.

tag(s): energy (198), fossil fuels (18), geology (81), oil (45), oil spill (21)

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