WSPA is monitoring the response to the May 19 crude oil pipeline leak in Santa Barbara County. The emergency response incident command structure has been activated. The U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are coordinating the federal response effort and the California Department of Parks and Recreation and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are coordinating the state response.
As an industry, we are always concerned when accidents like this happen. WSPA members strive to prevent any amount of spillage and have numerous programs and procedures designed to prevent such occurrences. Once the incident is contained and thoroughly cleaned up, they will review the facts surrounding this incident and apply what they learn to prevent future accidents.
We are grateful for the quick response on the part of the Coast Guard, Plains All American, the Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response and other responders that appear to have quickly limited the size of the spill. And we appreciate the efforts of the local response agencies and volunteers who are working on cleanup efforts.
Plains All American, the owner of the pipeline, is a member of the Western States Petroleum Association.
The pipeline is operated as a common carrier of crude oil, which means it conveys oil produced by companies operating in the central coastal region of California and delivers it through a network of pipelines to refineries throughout the state.
“The Environmental Defense Center is deeply saddened by the environmental damage we are seeing on the beaches and in the Santa Barbara Channel from yesterday’s oil spill inland of Refugio State Beach. There continues to be a number of questions that have yet to be answered including the size of the spill, why there was no automatic shut-off on this relatively new pipeline, and why the early response was not more successful in halting the flow of crude oil into the fragile waters of the Santa Barbara Channel and across our precious coastline.
The fact is that oil development is innately risky. We need to realize that allowing these dangerous industrial operations in our most sensitive environments will inevitably lead to oil spills - the most predictable of accidents. And this region is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife including numerous species of endangered whales and iconic coastlands that bring people from across the world to visit. As we monitor the cleanup operations, we must keep in mind that Venoco looks to expand drilling operations from Platform Holly and Sunset Exxon wants to begin new coastal slant drilling from Vandenberg, both projects EDC is working diligently to prevent – and again with oil drilling and accidents it is not a question of if, but when.”
-Owen Bailey, Executive Director, Environmental Defense Center