Oil pipeline spills up to 105,000 gallons along Santa Barbara coast

by Josephine Djuhana | May 21, 2015 1:57 pm

Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown declared[1] a state of emergency for Santa Barbara County in light of an oil spill near Refugio State Beach, reported on Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.

“This emergency proclamation cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources,” said Gov. Brown. “We will do everything necessary to protect California’s coastline.”

According to a press release, “state oil spill, wildlife, emergency services and environmental field response personnel were dispatched” to work with Santa Barbara County first responders. The Plains update website also reports[2] “[m]ore than 272 responders are taking part in the cleanup effort and more personnel enroute.”

Oil perimeter map as of May 20, 2015[3]

Oil perimeter map as of May 20, 2015

The cause of the rupture by Line 901 is as yet unknown, until authorities are able to excavate the line and investigate. Line 901 is a 24-inch buried pipeline and has a capacity of transporting approximately 150,000 barrels (6,300,000 gallons) of crude on average per day. The pipeline was constructed in 1987, with its last major internal inspection a few weeks ago, and before that, 2012.

An L.A. Times analysis[4] of data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shows Plains’ rate of incidents per mile of pipe is more than three times the national average.

Currently, Refugio State Beach and El Capitán State Beach have been closed by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Impacted fisheries have also been closed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, prohibiting the take of finfish and shellfish in the area.

This is not the first time that Santa Barbara County has dealt with an oil spill. In 1969, a well blowout during drilling on an offshore oil platform leaked up to 100,000 barrels (that’s more than 4 million gallons) of oil along the southern California coast line over a 10-day period.

Comparisons between 1969 and 2015 Santa Barbara oil spills

[row][double_paragraph][toggles title=”2015 Santa Barbara Spill”]1. Party Responsible: Plains All American Pipeline
2. Oil Spilled: est. 500-2,000 barrels
3. Duration: est. 3 hours
4. Cause: Ruptured pipeline
5. Shoreline impacted: Aprox. 9 miles just north of Refugio State Beach[/toggles][/double_paragraph][double_paragraph][toggles title=”1969 Santa Barbara Spill”]1. Party Responsible: Union Oil
2. Oil Spilled: 80,000 to 100,000 barrels
3. Duration: 10 days
4. Cause: Well blowout during drilling from offshore oil platform
5. Shoreline impacted: Pismo Beach to the Mexican border[/toggles][/double_paragraph] [/row]

  1. declared: http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18967
  2. reports: http://www.plainsupdate.com/go/doctype/7258/265810/
  3. [Image]: http://calwatchdog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/oil-spill-santa-barbara.png
  4. L.A. Times analysis: http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-oilspill-pipeline-20150521-story.html

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2015/05/21/oil-pipeline-spills-up-to-105000-gallons-along-santa-barbara-coast/