What are the environmental risks in transporting crude oil?

The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill remains the justifiable example of how the transportation of oil can suddenly wreak a huge environmental and economic crisis. Eleven million gallons of oil leaked, unstopped, from the ship when it hit rocks in 1989. Initial cleanup, by most reports, took three years and amounted to a cost of over $2.5 billion. The sheer numbers of animals and birds destroyed were devastating. In fact, hundreds of thousands of birds, harbor seals, and whales were killed. And what we learned about that spill is that still the only "effective" way the oil industry has to clean up the mess is with the use of absorbent paper towels.