The first major American oil spill took place in Santa Barbara back in 1969. The disaster led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. But 46 years later, an oil spill is back to plague the city and remind Americans why it's time to say goodbye to Big Oil.
Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency after a Plains All American Pipeline burst near Santa Barbara on Tuesday, spilling an estimated 105,000 gallons of crude oil along the coast of California. So far, about 21,000 gallons have already seeped into the ocean, raising concerns about wildlife and the surrounding environment.
The Houston based energy company, simply known as Plains, owns and operates nearly 18,000 miles of pipe networks in several states. It generated a reported $43 billion in revenue in 2014. The ruptured Plains All American Pipeline pumps as much as 6.3 million gallons of oil per day, or 50,400 gallons per hour.
According to the regulatory agency that oversees the operation--the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration--Plains has accumulated 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006.
“Plains’ rate of incidents per mile of pipe is more than three times the national average. Such incidents may include problems with pipelines, storage tanks and drains, among others.”
The last inspection on file dates back to 2012. Plains District Manager, Darren Palmer, says the company had an inspection completed two weeks prior to the spill but results are still pending.
He told reporters in a news conference on behalf of the company, “We’re sorry this accident has happened, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience to the community.”
Company officials say the line was manually shut down by 11:30 on Tuesday morning, after workers noticed pressure abnormalities. The rupture was confirmed visually two hours later, when an employee went to the site to inspect reports about a suspicious odor. Since then, the U.S. Coast Guard says a pair of oil slicks have spread across a 9 mile stretch along the coast, stemming roughly a mile from Refugio State Beach.
Cleanup efforts are underway and will likely continue for months.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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