Brown declares emergency over Central Coast oil spill

May 21, 2015

off shore oilCalifornia Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency Wednesday in response to the oil spill near Goleta that has caused about 21,000 gallons of crude to flow into the ocean.

Brown’s emergency declaration frees state funds and resources to aid the cleanup effort. Officials say as many as 105,000 gallons of oil spilled from the ruptured Santa Barbara County pipeline.

The spill has now spread across nine miles of ocean. Workers have thus far cleaned up approximately 6,000 gallons of oil.

A portion of the pipeline ruptured near Refugio State Beach in the early afternoon on Tuesday. Oil spilled into a culvert that runs under Highway 101 and then into a ditch that drains into the ocean.

Crude oil transport company Plains All American Pipeline shut down the ruptured pipeline three hours after identifying the leak. Plains All American has apologized for the spill.

Both the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office and the California Attorney General’s Office are investigating the spill and could pursue criminal prosecution or a civil fine. Federal regulators are also investigating the leak.

There are no clear estimates as to when the cleanup will conclude.

Jorge Estrada

If everyone in California sat on their throne and delivered their payload at the same time, Brown could declare a second emergency this week. The point is that this rupture had no designed fail-safe.


I don’t get what all the arguing is about. People are stuck on this planet and found oil as a way to improve lives. Mankind came a long with with it. But we did better things now, and we will move towards them. That’s really all there is to it.


“On December 7, 2007, Greka spilled over 58,000 US gallons (220 m3) of oil at their Bell Lease in the Cat Canyon Field along Palmer Road southwest of Santa Maria. Greka’s attorney, however, claimed that some of the recent spills were the work of an eco-terrorist at large. Pipes and wires were cut, valves were opened, and alarms disabled. Some of the wires had been cut with a crimping device.”

Don’t put it past these eco-nuts to do something like this. Just before a 3 day summer weekend…


maybe you are right, but i also wouldn’t put lying about ecoterrorism past a “smart” lawyer who is trying to get their client off the hook for negligence, or perhaps even industry insiders who are trying to generate positive counter pr as a means of pushing their agenda. Usually, people who are fanatical about the environment find it difficult to justify pollution in any shape or form, and they realize that it is highly unlikely that said pollution will result in any sort of meaningful overhaul that would change the status quo. If all of the other spills didnt bring about change, i doubt a 20k spill off sb would. But i suppose you don’t have to try hard to imagine that there might be some who believe that they could bring about desired results that justify such means. Who knows, right? When you are short on facts anything can seem possible.


markslo70 is right. In short, your speculation isn’t impossible but it isn’t probable either. Let’s wait and see.


Eco-nuts …let me process this, What does this mean ?

Eco = Life . Nuts = Crazy.

Therefore: LifeManiacs … People that are obsessed about life and living.

Pretty much captures most of the living biological upper organisms on the planet !

They WANT to LIVE.

Opposed to this ‘will to survive’ are those that live to KILL…the predators.

OK, I think I’ve now got your motivation .


Oil companies exist because of one reason – consumers purchase gasoline.


The Exxon Valdez spilled somewhere between 11 & 38 Million gallons. The Deepwater Horizon over 200 million gallons. Just to put things is the proper perspective.


I always get a chuckle when someone “dislikes” a fact. Can’t defend a position with a sensible statement of fact? Hit the dislike button.


I don’t think it’s so much the fact as the point you are trying to make with the fact. 2 wrongs don’t make a right, and just because the other spills were larger doesnt mean this spill is ok. I do get your point about proportionality, and 24+ years of no spills at this plant is a pretty good run of success, especially given the volume they move. What needs to be assessed is whether the spill could have and should have been prevented. If no corners were cut and the law wasn’t broken, then no crime legally took place and the spill is simply another cost of business that this firm is obligated to account for.


I agree 100%. In one of my earlier posts I noted that it should be fully investigated and obviously, if there was negligence it should be dealt with. It appears though, that many here have already made their determination. Due to the extreme reaction, I chose to post the comparisons.


I’m not being antagonistic here…you make some valid arguments. BUT ( big IF), corporations often decide AGAINST safety and precaution, if the beancounters project ‘manageable’ financial losses or payouts….even if their direct actions mean that people are killed or injured.

Ford management did this with their ‘Pinto’, even though they knew it was a rolling firebomb.

Dow Chemical did it with Bhopal in India, with over 500,000 injuries and over 18,000 related deaths so far. ( so far ).

DuPont does it. Hell, ALL petrochemical companies balance the books with perks to their executives in the MILLIONS and sometimes BILLIONS of dollars against the few avoidable DEATHS of some unfortunate peons.

I ask you . . . Why does ONE wrong not make a wrong ?


Over the years we’ve been told that oil conveyance systems were state of the art and that another spill off the coast of Santa Barbara like the one in the 60’s was virtually impossible.

My question is, what kind of state of the art monitoring system was in place along the broken pipeline and why did it take so long to shut it down?


It took 3 hours to shut it down. Is that unrealistic? The pipeline carries 150,000 barrels of oil daily. Each barrel is 42 gallons. That means 500 barrels spilled. That is .33% of the oil transported that day. You can only have shut offs in so many locations. If you had “state of the art” monitoring systems, there could easily be that much oil in a section of the pipeline where the leak took place, and that would drain everything between the break and the shut offs on either side. To detect a leak, mobilize a repair team, get them to the site and stop the leak in between the shut offs takes time. I am guessing there are not major roads to these pipelines and that they are not in urban areas for the entire distance with people right next to them. All in all, I would say they responded in reasonable fashion if you think it through.


While 3 hours may be realistic by oil industry standards, the weeks and months and perhaps longer to clean up the environment is very unrealistic. There has got to be better, safer methods of transporting oil.


Again, just an over reaction to a very minor spill. 1 accident in 24 years is an outstanding safety record. Not much of a way to improve on that. Again, it was 500 barrels, not the 10 Million plus spilled by the Valez, or 200 million spilled by the Deepwater Horizon. I would suggest that the cleanup wont be any more than days.


Shouldn’t the State sue Plains All American Pipeline for ALL costs ?

When some hiker(s) become stranded on mountains or cliffs and need to be rescued ( unless if injured and/or a true ‘accident’), they have to pay the costs for their stupidity. Doesn’t take authorities much time to ‘investigate’ or contemplate a ‘could pursue prosecution’ situation then.


It appears that our politicians are maximizing their potential here. Criminal Investigation? I doubt the hikers that you mention face those consequences. I am certain that the company will be on the hook financially for the clean up. I think talk of criminal prosecution or fines is premature and only mentioned due to the government’s desire to capitalize on it and to “show the citizens” that they are protecting us. They need to make this a non politicized evident, investigate it fully and pursue the appropriate course of action after the investigation, not stoke the fires politically with no evidence.




There could be a fountain of oil gushing like Spindletop fouling the entire California coastline, and the petro-terrorists would still say ‘no evidence’.

You remind me of that famous Groucho Marx line, ” Who are you going to believe…me, or your lying eyes ?”.


But if the hikers were trespassing then they would likely be subject to a fine, right? Everyone, you can be pro carbon-based fuel and still be against cutting corners and breaking the law to make a buck (to be clear i dont know the facts of the case or if any corners were cut or laws were broken). You can even be pro carbon and pro environment. The 2 aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive if externalities are accounted for and minimized, and the buck isnt passed to someone else. Carbon-based energy is the cheapest alternative right now, but with continual advancements in tech and dwindling carbon sources i think we all know that it is highly probable that this will one day cease to be the case. Regardless of whether you get your info from the right or the left, there’s always a potential for someone to be spreading on the bs and trying to push you into a camp of blind acceptance when $ is involved, and i think its important that we don’t forget that when evaluating info and at least try to remain neutral (hard as it may be).


I agree with your points. I think carbon credits are noting more than a tax mechanism, and that is why object to them. Any reasonable person, looking at the numbers would see that this spill is minor, that the leak was stopped in an efficient manner and that the safety record has been good. 21000 gallons sounds like a lot, until you look at the overall picture. The article didnt do that and many of the commenters appear to have a preconceived idea of what a big spill is. I think that bias exists because of the left. I am conservative (you probably couldn’t have guessed :) ) but, will look at all sides of an issue and examine facts. I live on the beach, so I am sensitive to environmental issues, but, am also sensitive to government intrusion and the motives of the left. Policy makers use environmental issues as an emotional way to gain approval for revenue increases. (Tax Hikes)


I agree that there may be a tendency to politicize the event but I think that it is coming from you and others on your side as much as from the politicians pandering to the environmentalists.

To put it plainly, NO ONE knows enough about the situation to be making comments either way yet. Your comments about this being a small almost insignificant spill are as uninformed as those calling it a major environmental disaster. It may be small relative to the normal volume carried by the pipeline but that doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t have major ecological impacts anymore than it means that it does. Wait for the evidence to come in.

Meanwhile, stop being a “dittohead” type by making broad implied generalizations about people who have any concern for the environment. I started listening to Rush Limbaugh in the early 1980’s because there weren’t a lot of options to get the Conservative view of things back then and I like to be able to see both sides. It didn’t last long though as he did a couple of things that made it quite apparent that he was more interested in stirring up people than in presenting a case for his views. His use of labels like “Environmental Whackos”, “FemiNazis” may have had accuracy in a few cases but he not-too-subtly implied that most people who gave any credence to environmentalist, feminist or other points of view varying from his were included.

Worse yet, a lot of conservatives bought into that “black and white” view of politics and accepted his half-truths, distortions and outright lies and adopted his views. This may be the biggest reason (with assistance from the FOX network) there is so little ability to compromise politically anymore.


You don’t like labels, yet here you are doing exactly the same thing. I made no broad generalizations. The people that I responded to called for criminal investigations. Do you have any idea of the implication of that with no evidence of criminal activity. Everyone from the maintenance crew, response team, engineers that designed the pipeline, the engineers and technicians that designed, installed and monitor the monitoring systems through company executives will be interviewed and scrutinized. Do you know the cost of legal representation? Please don’t tell me they don’t need it. They most certainly do. This will ruin some of these families financially. Others will have health issues related to stress and the entire families will be affected. The worst case scenario included a denial of personal freedom for the employees. I labeled the eco-Nazis after a good deal of thought about it before posting. The Nazi’s are one of the most notorious groups for denying personal freedom due to having different views or attributes. The calls for a criminal investigation with no facts to support the demands is nothing different.


Enough already! no more nazi comparisons,

“The last word is not available, so please don’t reply to your comment nemesis in every thread on a post just because you are sure someone is wrong on the internet.”


Thank you. I was wondering when Godwin was going to kick in.

Ted Slanders

“Plains All American has apologized for the spill.”

Okay, now I feel a lot better about the spill closing down California beaches, the killing of ocean wildlife, and eco-system being harmed, and the remnants of this spill into the future, don’t you?


The pipeline transports 150000 barrels of oil daily and has for 24 years. 21000 is hardly a major spill. How much wildlife will this spill affect? How much harm will be done to the eco-system? How will the remnants of the spill affect things in the future if cleaned up appropriately? When is the last time that you had an accident causing property damage? I am guessing it has been at least once in the last 24 years. We can’t prevent all accidents. The eco-Nazi’s ware way out of line crying foul until they can prove negligence or purposeful intent. Should we quit driving, utilizing electric power, farming, manufacturing, eliminate wind farms and solar farms, all because of the risk or should we manage the risk effectively?


mbbizpro says: “eco-Nazi’s ” Nice dis on everyone who helped win WW2, grampa must be so proud.

“Should we quit driving, utilizing electric power, farming, manufacturing, eliminate wind farms and solar farms, all because of the risk ”

Could you please exaggerate some more because that allways helps. No one suggested any of that, but if makeing things up helps prove your point…..


Well what are you suggesting? The posts concerned about the harm to the wild life and eco system are nothing but a ploy to generate outrage when the event is minor and will have little effect. As far as eco-Nazi, it is no reflection on anyone other than those that try to control our way of life using the environment as an excuse. Stick to the fact and do without the fake outrage. If you can read beyond a Jr. High School Level you understand the point that I was making about accidents happening and the effects on the environment of everything that we do. Not just the oil spill. I took it to the opposite extreme of the eco-Nazis to make my point.


mbbizpro says:”Stick to the fact and do without the fake outrage. ”

You are the one bringing up nazi’s for fake outrage and lack of facts (no nazi’s here) and then being insulting (If you can read beyond a Jr. High School Level ) to support your ploy to minimise opinions of the spill.

For example “when the event is minor and will have little effect.” fact, the event is not over and you have no idea of the effect that is happening now. So stick to the real facts and not made up ones.

Also “As far as eco-Nazi, it is no reflection on anyone” Yes it is, it reflects on you.


You insult my father that risked his life fighting ( and having to actually kill ) Nazi’s, and every other WWII vet that did likewise with thousands ending up in a box.

They didn’t do it so that the likes of you don’t have to speak German now but make snide comments in English.


I understand why you are upset, but protecting peoples right to make snide comments was one of the main reasons why they went in the first place.


Uh ….no. Not in my Dad’s case . It was to save the civilized world from fanatical, death-cult totalitarianism. He knew that crepe hanging sonufabitch and his gangster cohorts deserved to die ( and he came close to doing it, too ).

And if any so-called American were arrogant enough, or stupid enough to say the same…well let’s just say that they had better have fast feet and be a good swimmer.

Dad was a tank driver at Normandy and Market Garden, then got transferred into field recon where his main job was commanding a unit tasked with killing Nazi snipers. He didn’t ask them their opinion first. Was one of the first teams to discover the Malmedy Massacre. There were no Nazi’s / Waffen SS taken prisoner after that.

You ever see “inglorious Basterds” ? Well, Dad was like the fictional Lt. Aldo Raine, except he was a Captain; and the unit was composed of Americans of German ancestry that could ‘sprechen sie deutsche’ pretty good, and not Jews.

Then he got a field promotion into Intelligence and Advanced Base HQ.

He was with the commandos waiting for Schickelgruber at Berchtesgaden, but the lunatic couldn’t escape the Russies and ate his Luger first.


To Zap – No …the Bavarian mountain retreat dubbed the “Eagle’s Lair”.

Lots of pictures and movies of der fuehrer entertaining there.

The Allies ( at least the USA/GB/French) thought he might flee there, as it was suspected there was a hidden fortune there, plus it was pretty remote. My Dad got a chair leg from the rubble, but if there was any loot, it was gone or they never found it .

Rich in MB

Maybe we can solve the crisis by not driving for week?

Na…how would we get to the protest?


Perhaps we could all pile into Linde’s pink 60’s VW…I’m certain it wastes no fuel.