A Plains All-American Pipeline pipeline ruptured along Santa Barbara County Beaches, leaking a reported 21,000 gallons of crude oil.
Tuesday, an 11-mile long rupture of the underground Plains Pipe was reported by the authorities. The pipeline is connected to a large network that transports crude oil to Kern County and was designed to carry 150,000 barrels of crude daily.
Following the report of noxious fumes being released in the atmosphere, County Fire crews, along with environmental and state Park officials, as well as the Coast Guard and ExxonMobil officials showed up at the leak scene.
Although it is yet unclear what caused the rupture and therefore the leak, authorities say they are still investigating and meanwhile efforts to clean up the spill are being coordinated.
Before spilling into the ocean, the crude oil leaked from the pipeline gathered in a culvert at the location of the rupture. The culvert was blocked according to Plains All-American Pipeline officials to prevent further spilling into the ocean.
What proves more problematic is the clean up of the entire area affected. Reportedly, the leaks in the Pacific created a sheen that is four miles long and extends 50 yards into the water. Increased risk of extending toward Isla Vista is due to windy weather conditions.
As the Santa Barbara County Beaches are now covered in a thick coat of crude oil, several evacuation warnings and closing notifications have been issued.
Refugio State Beach is closed. Area fisheries are closed as well by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. El Capitan State beach received a warning in the aftermath of the crude oil spill. The Office for Environmental Hazards Assessment is carefully following the situation.
Crews from different authorities are working relentlessly to address concerns over marine life and birds in the area. Some wildlife has already been seen reported to be fully covered in oil. The Coast Guard will see oversee the cleanup.
Plains All-American Pipeline isn’t at the first occurrence of a crude oil spill. Its previous history, according to the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Justice Department, the company has had 10 previous crude oil spills in four states that count: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Kansas.
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