June 9, 2015 — Santa Barbara County officials say 44% of the shoreline between Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have been cleaned after last month’s oil spill at Refugio State Beach.
The Los Angeles Times reports that crews have cleaned more than 40 miles of coastline. Most sandy beaches had only trace amounts of oil, but some sections of rocky beach are still covered in sludge and will have to be meticulously cleaned by hands.
The pipeline, owned by Texas-based Plains All-American Pipeline, burst on May 19 and spilled an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil for about three hours. Inspectors said the pipe had “extensive” external corrosion and the thickness of the pipe had been badly worn down to just one-sixteenth of an inch.
As of June 6, the oil spill killed a total of 149 birds and 72 mammals, including dozens of seals and dolphins. It is the worst coastal oil spill in California in the last 25 years. With fishing and shellfish harvesting still banned, a class action lawsuit has been filed by a fishermen who is seeking compensation for economic losses.
More lawsuits could be coming soon. Yesterday, District Attorney Joyce Dudley asked for another $1.7 million for costs associated with possible legal action the county might take against Plains All-American Pipeline. She is looking to hire environmental lawyers for the next three to five years, according to the Lompoc Record.