Extensive cleanup continues at Refugio State Beach near Santa Barbara, California after an offshore oil pipeline burst Tuesday morning.
The 24-inch underground pipe owned by the Plains All American Pipeline Company was apparently operating under capacity at 1,300 barrels an hour instead of 2,000.
With over 105,000 gallons of crude oil released into the ocean, and surrounding ecosystems ravaged, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency.
Out at sea, a fleet of 18 boats is trying to contain the black goo from spreading further. Since Tuesday they have extracted over 7,700 gallons from the polluted waters.
On land volunteers remove residue along 11 miles of tarnished coastline. Many concerned citizens are also helping injured wildlife, such as the native brown pelican, drenched in oil.
This isn’t the first time an oil spill has affected the Santa Barbara region. The third largest spill in American history occurred in 1969 when between 80,000 to 100,000 gallons of crude oil seeped into the ocean. Following the death of over 3,500 sea birds and other maritime animals, some attribute the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill as the beginning of the environmental movement throughout the United States.
Following suit, local residents in Santa Barbara County are once again calling for safer procedures in the transportation of oil. On Thursday protestors gathered outside of the Santa Barbara courthouse to denounce the practices of the oil industry and Plains All American.
Since 2006 the oil Houston-based oil company has acquired 175 safety and maintenance violations for other infractions. The corporation had to pay more than 40 million dollars to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice department for violating the Clean Water Act resulting from 10 oil spills from 2004-2007.
While officials are still trying to determine what caused the rupture, scientists say that long-term environmental damage is likely.