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July 23, 2010 12:14 PM

Success at containing earlier oil spills led to BP gusher

After nearly three months of constant gushing, BP's blown-out well has polluted the Gulf of Mexico with more than 80 percent of the total volume of all recorded U.S. oil spills in the last 36 years. Before the enormity of the BP spill, a McClatchy analysis of Coast Guard data found, the oil industry and other handlers of crude oil had made substantial progress in cutting the frequency and size of spills.

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