Up to 100,000 Gallons of Oil Just Spilled Along the California Coast

Officials from the Plains All American Pipeline company are scrambling to deal with the aftermath of an oil spill after one of its pipelines ruptured on Tuesday (5/20). According to CNN,

“The 24-inch pipeline ruptured along the Santa Barbara coast, leaking the oil near Refugio State Beach, a protected state park.”

 

May 21, 2015: A bird covered in oil struggles to flap its wings on Refugio State Beach (Photo: Jae O. Hong/AP)

May 21, 2015: A bird covered in oil struggles to flap its wings on Refugio State Beach (Photo: Jae O. Hong/AP)

Earlier today, Rick McMichael, the company’s director of pipeline operations, said that up to 105,000 gallons of oil may have been spilt as a result of the rupture, though he called that a “worst-case scenario.”

McMichael also estimated that roughly 24,000 gallons of oil made it out to the Pacific Ocean. However, since the pipe is underground, it will probably be at least a few days until we know exactly how much oil was actually spilled.

CNN reports that the oil has already created a, “thick, black, greasy, 9-square-mile oil slick” along the Refugio coastline. This oil will, “…continue to disperse over time and spread out due to the winds and currents,” Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said in a recent news conference about the spill.

Greg Armstrong, Plains’ chairman, said he was deeply sorry for the spill, adding that the company will be working 24 hours a day to clean it up. Still, it will probably be a while before the Santa Barbara coast is returned to its once picturesque beauty.

“Oil recovery tends to be a complicated process that involves a lot of manual labor. It can be a slow process, but we want to make sure that we do it right so we can get the beaches back to their pristine condition,”

said Williams.

Read more from CNN.

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