Mysterious oil spotted off Goleta coast

July 30, 2015

off shore oilA little more than two months after thousands of gallons of oil spilled along the Gaviota coast, a mysterious layer of oil appeared offshore of the nearby Goleta Beach. [LA Times]

Around 11 a.m. Wednesday, kayakers spotted oil about 1,000 feet off Goleta Beach. A United States Coast Guard investigation determined the oil had stretched about 3.5 miles long and half a mile wide by Wednesday evening.

Investigators said the oil would dissipate on its own, and Santa Barbara County’s public health director said the oil posed no risk to swimmers. The beaches remained open.

The Coast Guard is currently awaiting lab results that may determine the source of the oil.

A patch of the oil spotted Wednesday was seen floating near a platform owned by Venoco Inc. The company denied involvement, though. A Venoco Inc. representative said its platform was shut down in May, and its pipeline was flushed of oil and refilled with seawater.

Coast Guard investigators say the layer of oil could have come from an ordinary natural seepage. Thousands of gallons of oil flow into the ocean each day at Coal Oil Point, a seep field in the Santa Barbara Channel.

But, federal officials also say the oil could be a remnant of the May 19 Plains All American Pipeline spill. After the pipeline ruptured, 21,000 to 105,000 gallons of oil spilled near Refugio State Beach, and much of it drained into the ocean.

The cleanup of the Refugio spill is still not complete.

Environmental activist Rebecca Claassen, an organizer with Food and Water Watch, said it is too early to minimize the oil spotted Wednesday as a natural occurrence, and it could come from oil platforms off the Santa Barbara County coast.

“We can see a spill any day as long as there is drilling off shore,” Claassen said.

Robert Hernandez, an electrician who fishes almost every day off the Goleta pier, said oil layers like the one spotted Wednesday are part of life in the area, where the petroleum-rich sea bed regularly emits oil and natural gas. Hernandez questioned why the oil that appeared Wednesday was newsworthy.

“It cracks me up,” Hernandez said. “At first I thought there was a shark attack or something.”


Loading...

7 Comments

  1. Theo P. Neustic says:

    I’ve been traversing that area on the ocean for the last 43 years and there has always been natural seeps, hence the name “Coal Oil Point”. The problem is too many trans plants out in their kayaks , who think they know everything because some college professor told them so.The natives sealed the seams in their canoes with that pitch which constantly bubbles to the surface there, and also some around an area off of Avila ,locally referred to as ” the Tar Pit, and andin area north of Pedras Blancas point. So the more that they impede oil extraction, the more will naturally squeeze up out of the sea floor. Doh!

    (17) 17 Total Votes - 17 up - 0 down
  2. Rich in MB says:

    Natural seepage my arse…..
    Those are mother nature’s tears for ciecel the lion.

    (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
  3. Paso_Guy says:

    Again, nobody to blame. I can sense the hand-wringing even from Paso.

    (13) 13 Total Votes - 13 up - 0 down
    • justbeware says:

      Remember, it’s not nice to blame Mother Nature.

      (8) 8 Total Votes - 8 up - 0 down
      • kayaknut says:

        So much easier to just blame George Bush….. we all know he is the reason for all the bad things in the world.

        (5) 13 Total Votes - 9 up - 4 down

Comments are closed.