The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that about 21,000 gallons of oil spilled into the ocean Tuesday when a pipeline broke on the central California coast.
The pipeline break has created an oil slick stretching for about 4 miles of beach and about 50 yards into the ocean, said Coast Guard Petty Officer Andrea Anderson. The leak was first reported to county fire officials about noon, and Coast Guard crews stopped the leak by 3 p.m., Anderson added.
“Luckily the source has been stopped and now it’s just a cleanup effort. Hopefully we can get that done quickly,” Coast Guard Lt. Jonathan McCormick told KTLA.
The Santa Barbara Channel was the site of a massive oil spill in 1969 that is recognized as a key event in the development of the U.S. environmental movement.
Rupture left a slick on the surface about 100 feet wide and about a half gallons of after 21,00 gallons of oil spilled
Santa Barbara County fire officials say the source was a pipeline that broke and sent oil into a culvert that ran into the ocean.
Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department said the pipeline was on land near Refugio State Beach.
Aerial video footage of the area showed oil stretching out from the beach about 150 feet into the ocean in some areas. It also showed a ruptured pipeline inland across the highway, from which the oil reportedly ran downhill into the ocean.
Zaniboni said firefighters responding to reports of the smell of gas on the beach found the thick black slick and traced it to the pipeline. Cleanup has begun, and the U.S. Coast Guard, state parks and county emergency officials are responding.
The Coast Guard initially said in a tweet that Exxon was responding, but ExxonMobil spokesman Christian Flathman said the pipeline was not one of the company’s and the company was not responding, according to KTLA.
A boom truck was reportedly in the area to help with the cleanup along the beach, KSBY added.
Officials at the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management warned the public to avoid the area during the cleanup.
The Original Posted by Al Jazeera and wire services