California Declares State of Emergency Following Oil Spill

Oil Spill Cleanup

By The Maritime Executive 05-21-2015 07:10:55

California governor Edmund G. Brown issued an emergency proclamation for Santa Barbara County in the wake of an oil spill that occurred Tuesday near Refugio State Beach as the result of a ruptured pipeline. The declaration was made in an attempt to speed up the allocation of funds for the cleanup effort.

According to CNN reports, up to 105,000 gallons of oil may have spilled in the area with 21,000 reportedly going into the Pacific Ocean. The area affected by the spill now extends along 9 miles of coastline. 

“This emergency proclamation cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources,” said Governor Brown. “We will do everything necessary to protect California’s coastline.”

The area where the spill occurred is home to the California least tern and the western snowy plover, two birds listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Currently the California Office of Spill Response and Prevention is working closely with several governmental agencies to clean up beaches and help wildlife that may have been affected by the spill. 

The state is also coordinating six boom boats, three 65-foot collection vessels and hand crews to assist with cleanup efforts. Around 3,000 feet of containment boom has been put in place, and over 272 responders are participating in the cleanup efforts. So far, about 6,000 gallons of oil have been skimmed from the ocean. 

The Santa Barbara Coast was also the scene of a massive oil spill in 1969, which was the largest to have occurred at the time, and now ranks as the third largest in U.S. history.