A state of emergency, miles of fouled coastline, 21,000 gallons of oil leaking into the Pacific Ocean, damaged habitats home to two endangered species of birds, dead and injured wildlife and unknown future environmental impacts… These are just a few of the staggering effects of a May 19th oil leak from an underground pipeline in California – said to be the state’s largest spill in 25 years.
Santa Barbara, California – On the 19th of May, a 24-inch underground pipeline leaked as much as an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil. The operator, Plains All American Pipeline, had attempted to address mechanical anomalies on the line prior to the oil spill being discovered. Aside from the operator, the county fire department, Coast Guard, the National Response Center, the Environmental Protection Agency, the California Office of Spill Response and Prevention and many volunteers are involved in mitigating the adverse effects of the spill. Governor Edmund G. Brown had also declared a state of emergency to better facilitate the release of funds for cleanup efforts.
The pipeline has been shut down, and among the measures pursued by the concerned parties are boom boats, collection vessels, and hand crews. Hundreds of people are involved in the cleanup, with thousands of oil already having been skimmed from the water. Contaminated soil is also being dug up.
An inspection of the pipeline was conducted earlier in the month, with results yet to be revealed. This may be useful in identifying the cause of the devastating leak, which is currently under investigation. Authorities are also determining possible criminal or civil proceedings against the Texas-based Plains All-American Pipeline.
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Blood, Michael R and Alicia Chang. “Federal agencies are defending their response to California’s largest oil spill in 25 years.” Business Insider, 30 May 2015. Web. 30 May 2015. http://www.businessinsider.com/federal-agencies-are-defending-their-response-to-californias-largest-oil-spill-in-25-years-2015-5
“California Declares State of Emergency Following Oil Spill.” The Maritime Executive, 21 May 2015. Web. 30 May 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/california-declares-state-of-emergency-following-oil-spill
Holpuch, Amanda. “California oil spill company under local, state and federal investigation.” The Guardian, 23 May 2015. Web. 30 May 2015. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/23/california-oil-spill-company-investigation-local-state-federal
Lazo, Alejandro and Erin Ailworth. “Pipeline in California Oil Spill Ordered Shut Down, Tested.” The Wall Street Journal, 22 May 2015. Web. 30 May 2015. http://www.wsj.com/articles/pipeline-in-california-oil-spill-ordered-shut-down-tested-1432319020
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