SANTA BARBARA—An underground 24-inch pipeline ruptured on May 19 off the coast of Refugio Beach, 20 miles west of Santa Barbara. The spill resulted in over 21,000 gallons of oil going into the ocean and spanning approximately four miles wide.
Authorities were first on the scene responding to residents’ reports of the smell of gas before 12 p.m. where they discovered a ruptured land pipe. County fire crews, environmental and state park officials, the U.S. Coast Guard and an ExxonMobil arrived on the scene. Access to the affected areas was shut down to the public until further notice.
The pipe, belonging to Plains All American Pipeline, was shut down and the culvert, where the oil first pooled, was blocked to prevent further spillage.
Plains All American Pipeline released the following statement:
“Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact. Our focus remains on ensuring the safety of all involved.”
Back in May 2014, the company had a similar incident at Atwater Village. Plains All American Pipeline has also been responsible for 10 other spills in approximately four different states. The company has a history of violating the Clean Water Act and was sued by a coalition of environmental groups back in January .
The several-hour long leak was stopped at around 3 p.m. and cleaning efforts are currently underway. Some residents are currently evacuating the area due to the smell
The cause of the rupture is still being investigated.