The most recent oil spill in Santa Barbara, California has been incredibly upsetting to many who have seen the damaging affects of previous accidents that caused oil to spill on land and in water, in the past. However with the amount being an estimated 105,000 gallons lost in Santa Barbara, officials are under high pressure to quickly clean up the devastation, as environmentalists seize them for this incident. In a world where climate and environment are already a large concern, oil spills are bringing about huge repercussions, most recently for Plains All American Pipeline and other pipeline company officials.
Shares have dropped, environmentalists have taken to quick accusation, and investigators have stepped in to determine the cause, but the devastation of the most recent spill in Santa Barbara where many gallons of crude oil was lost, due to a ruptured pipeline, is yet to be determined. However, it is clear that the 24-inch pipeline that runs along Refugio State Beach runs a large amount of oil through it, and quickly, meaning that the damage is excessive.
Due to the large nature of the incident, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emergency response team immediately stepped in. They quickly asked people to avoid cleaning up any parts of the spill on their own, and asked that residents and tourists in the area give them room to assess the damage. As many residents and those across the world who fight for the environment are gravely worried about the damage that the oil spill will have on the environment (and by extension the climate), resisting the urge to step in and clean up is a challenge. However, officials have stated that many are working quickly on the clean up, from both sides: land and ocean.
The nature of the spill and its location caused two forces to combine in order to work on repairing the damage that has been caused. The ruptured pipe was inland, where the oil spill originated, meaning that the EPA had jurisdiction in the matter, however, the spill also flowed down to the shores and into the water, with an estimated 21,000 gallons going into the water, meaning that the Coast Guard had to step in, as well. Officials in the state of California are also involved in the matter, as the environment affected is theirs. With all of these teams working together, the EPA coordinator Michelle Rogow believes that the matter is being well cared for.
Environmentalists are, however, unsure. Even if cleaning up the oil spill with the proper tools and equipment, the fact of the matter is that the spill did happen. Worried about what the oil will kill in the time that it takes to clean it up causes those who worry about the environment and climate, in a world where these things are already a large concern, to grow outraged at the fact that the incident was able to happen in such a large capacity, though it is nothing compared to the more than 4 million gallons that spilled in a previous incident. Using the similar oil spill in Santa Barbara that occurred in 1969, environmentalists are rallying against the way that crude oil is cared for and transported.
As the Obama Administration and federal agencies have been approving plans, lately, to open drilling in other areas and even drill more in already exploited areas, the environmental agencies plan to use this recent oil spill in combination with evidence from the spill of 1969 (which killed thousands of birds and damaged a radius of more than 30 miles) as bait to try and get the further drilling of areas to cease. A representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council stated that this new evidence shows that the industry still poses enormous risks to the environment.
Marine biologists at University of California (UC) Santa Barbara have made comments to reporters that reflect just how rare the marine and land life is in the area, in which crude oil now dwells. The Santa Barbara Channel is said to be a place where cold water meets warm water, creating perfect conditions for some unusual species. Marine biologists state that this area is host to some 800 different species. This time of the year is also when gray whales migrate to the area. However, the oil spill poses the largest threat to the birds who forage the beaches. In addition, marine biologists at UC say that, due to California’s hot days, oil can also warm and sink into the ground, destroying plants and land.
The more that the environment is destroyed due to man-made damage the more that the climate will change as a result of a world that is not healthy, giving reason for the most recent oil spill to bring about a large concern among residents, environmentalists, and people across the globe. Though oil has brought about many great things that have helped humans revolutionize, it has also brought about many environmental hazards. This is also very true of the oil crude trains that derail and cause explosion, often times causing lives to be lost. Is the industry’s obsession with exploiting oil leading to environmental doom, or can it be said that since an oil spill only happens ever-so-often it is not as dangerous to the world as environmentalists make it out to be? Either way, it is clear that the Santa Barbara oil spill has caused a devastation, the amount of which is yet to be known.
By Crystal Boulware
USN: Environmentalists Seize on Latest Santa Barbara Oil Spill, 46 Years After Historic Disaster
CNN: Wildlife, pristine beaches focus of ‘aggressive’ oil spill cleanup
Wired: What the Oil Spill Off Santa Barbara Is Going to Kill
Photo Courtesy of Marine Photobank Flickr Page – Creative Commons License