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In 2010, an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in 11 deaths and the largest oil spill in U.S. history.
Responders applied chemical dispersants to the surface oil slick—to break oil into smaller droplets.
Since the 1960s, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has allowed the offshore oil and gas industry to leave 97% of pipelines (18,000 miles) on the seafloor when no longer in use. Pipelines can contain oil or gas if not properly cleaned in decommissioning.