GUEST: Rebecca Claassen, Santa Barbara County organizer with Food & Water Watch.
An 11-mile underground oil pipeline near Santa Barbara burst last week releasing more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean, and covering a 10-square mile slick in the ocean. The spill was first detected when a woman smelled fumes and reported them, after which the Coast Guard managed to stop the flow of oil.
The pipeline is operated and owned by Plains All American Pipeline which has issued an apology and says it is working to excavate a broken section of the pipeline.
Cleanup crews have been busy along the shore, sopping up oil soaked water and sand. The impact to wildlife has already been severe. The AP reports that “13 birds — mostly brown pelicans — and eight marine mammals, including dolphins and sea lions, were found dead.”
The area that the spill occurred is home to many species of wildlife including whales. In 1969, an oil spill in the same area, which at that time was the largest ever such spill, helped to kickstart the local environmental movement.