Crude oil released during last month’s pipeline rupture near Santa Barbara floated down the coast and landed on beaches in Ventura and Los Angeles counties, according to separate lab results from state officials and Plains All American Pipeline.
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June 24, 2015 – Samples taken from tarballs recovered on Manhattan Beach matched the type of crude oil released into the Pacific Ocean when a pipeline broke off the Santa Barbara Coast May 19, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR).
A separate analysis conducted by scientists from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts and UC Santa Barbara identified 2 samples taken from beaches in Ventura and Los Angeles counties that had oil from the ruptured pipeline.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), tarballs “are typically present on Southern California beaches from natural sources, most commonly from offshore seepage from fissures in the sea bed.” However, the higher number of tarballs found on California beaches after last month’s oil spill led officials to wonder whether they were connected to the incident.
“This news underscores how dangerous oil spills are to our precious coastline,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) said. “That’s why I am firmly against coastline drilling, whether it’s in Hermosa Beach or in the Arctic.”
Lieu said he expects Plains All American Pipeline, the company that operates the ruptured pipe, to foot the bill for any cleanup costs as well as pay any penalties that might result from the oil spill.