Tuesday, May 19, 2015

California Coast Oil Pipeline Rupture Spills 21,000 Gallons of Crude in the Ocean and on the Beach

""An estimated 21,000 gallons (79,500 liters) of crude oil dumped into the ocean from a broken pipeline just off the central California coast before it was shut off on Tuesday, creating a spill stretching about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) along the beach, the US Coast Guard said.
Santa Barbara County health officials have shut down Refugio State Beach, the central site of the spill, though many had abandoned the site already because of the foul smell.
That smell brought county firefighters to the beach earlier in the day to discover the spill.
"They found about a half-mile slick of dark, black crude oil in the ocean," fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.
A few hours later the pipeline had been shut off, but the spill had stretched to about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) of beach for about 50 yards (45 meters) out into the water, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson.They traced the oil to the onshore pipeline that spilled into a culvert that ran under the U.S. 101 freeway and through a storm drain into the ocean.
The 24-inch (60-centimeter) pipeline is owned by Plains All American Pipeline, which said it shut down the flow of oil and the culvert carrying the oil to the ocean was blocked.
"Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact," the company said in a statement.
The scenic stretch of coastline about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of the pricey real estate of Santa Barbara is dotted with state-run beaches that are popular with campers, and the spill comes just a few days before the Memorial Day holiday weekend and subsequent summer camping season begin.
The stretch of coastline is also home to many oil rigs and drilling operations, and small amounts of tar and seepage show up on beaches, but in much smaller amounts.
The Coast Guard, county emergency officials and state parks officials had begun cleaning up the spill.
Boats from the nonprofit collective Clean Seas were being used in the cleanup.
There was no immediate estimate of how long the cleanup might take.
The Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center said such a spill was inevitable with coastal oil development, but still unwelcome.
"To see this level of spill into such a sensitive and treasured environment is devastating to watch," the EDC said in a statement. The group expressed special worry for the many species of whale that migrate through the area.""
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