Oil spill threatens the shores of Santa Barbara

May 20, 2015 | Environment
Oil spill: Santa Barbara suffers once again | Photo: KTLA

A ruptured in an underground pipeline leaked an estimated 105,000 gallons of crude near Santa Barbara, in California.

The spill sent oil to local beaches, and sea lions were spotted swimming in dark waters. The sands of Refugio State Beach have already turned black, and the spill will likely move south.

"It's a moving target. Unfortunately, it's not an exact science when we're dealing with changing conditions out there," underlines, Capt. Jennifer Williams of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The pipeline was built in 1991, and Plains All American Pipeline owns it. The structure can carry 150,000 barrels of oil per day.

In January 1969, thousands of dolphins, seabirds, and seals died when 100,000 barrels of crude oil spilled in the Santa Barbara channel. Back then, all commercial fishing was suspended in the affected area, and tourists abandoned the region.

"Plains shut down the flow of oil in the pipeline and has initiated its emergency response plan. The culvert has been blocked, so no additional oil is reaching the water," the oil company wrote in a statement.

"Plains is working with local officials and first responders on site to begin clean-up and remediation efforts. Our focus remains on ensuring the safety of all involved. No injuries have been reported at this time."

The 24-inch (60-centimeter) pipeline broke and spewed oil down a storm drain and into the Pacific Ocean for several hours before it was shut off. The authorities have no idea how long it will take to clean up the spill.

"Sadly, once the oil is spilled it is too late. As we are again learning in Santa Barbara, once the disaster has occurred we can only try to minimize the damage," reminds Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation.

"That is why the Surfrider Foundation has consistently opposed the expansion of offshore oil drilling into new areas and we ask you to join us in that opposition. We need a strong public response to combat special interests who are constantly pressing for more drilling along our precious coastlines."

Offshore drilling is not the answer. Support the Surfrider Foundation.

SurferToday.com uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more on our About section.