An estimated 21,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Pacific Ocean after a pipeline located off the central California coast ruptured. Although the pipeline was shut off on Tuesday, it created an oil spill that extended over approximately 4 miles along the beach, the U.S. Coast Guard told FOX News.
According to The Washington Post, reports of a foul smell near Refugio State Beach led county fire-fighters to a half-mile oil slick earlier in the day, enabling the authorites to trace it back to an onshore pipeline that had burst and spilled into a culvert and a storm drain that flowed into the Pacific Ocean.
The pipeline belongs to Plains All American Pipeline and the company released a statement saying it began an emergency response plan in order to prevent more oil from spilling into the ocean. "Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact,'" the company said in a statement, according to the Santa Barbara Independent. "Our focus remains on ensuring the safety of all involved. No injuries have been reported at this time."
The Coast Guard, along with county emergency officials and state park officials are trying to clean up the oil spill. Boats belonging to the non-profit organisation Clean Seas also volunteered to provide help but were facing difficulties as there was a lot of oil spilled so close to the shore, U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Jennifer Williams said. Nearly 850 gallons of oil have been recovered from the water, she added.
The accident took place along the same stretch of coastline as a 1969 spill, which at the time was the largest ever oil spill in U.S waters, leading to the formation of the American Environmental Movement. Hundreds and Thousands of gallons had leaked from a blowout on an oil platform, killing many sea birds and marine mammals.