The California Oil Pipeline Spill Is Five Times Worse Than Originally Predicted

Santa Barbara Oil Spill

The California pipeline spill that leaked onto the Santa Barbara coastline is five times worse than originally predicted. The pipeline spill occurred after an industrial accident was reported on Tuesday.

Officials have admitted that at least 105,000 gallons of crude oil spilled onto the Refugio State Beach. The devastating environmental accident could take months to clean up.

Government officials have worked swiftly to hold Plains All American Pipeline accountable for the accident. The Department of Transportation issued a corrective action order on Friday that requires the company to shut down the pipeline immediately, conduct a series of tests and demonstrate that they have improved the safety of the conduit.

The oil pipeline spill also led Attorney General Kamala D. Harris to launch an investigation into the causes of the oil spill.

The spill is especially troubling as it occurred along the Santa Barbara Channel, one of the most biologically rich places on the planet.

NPR’s Kirk Siegler explains,

“After the main cleanup is completed, scientists will be on site collecting samples and doing studies for months. Things here are bad, for sure. The spill occurred right between two recently protected stretches of the coast.”

This is the second time that the Santa Barbara Channel has come under attack. In 1969 three million gallons of crude oil spilled into the channel.

According to CNN, “Plains All American is among the worst violators listed by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration,” ranking fifth in violations. Since 2006,the company has accrued 175 federal safety and maintenance violations and spilled more than 16,000 barrels of oil. The company has paid more than $23 million in damages in just eight years.

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James Vanderhoff
James Vanderhoff is a former editor at http://www.popcrunch.com