An oil pipeline running along the scenic California coast ruptured on Tuesday, spilling 21,000 gallons worth of crude oil near Refugio State Beach. Owned and operated by the Plains All American Pipeline company, the oil flow was quickly turned off as to minimize the amount spilled. However, enough was lost that the coast guard had to be called in, with a 4 mile segment of the beach shut down for clean up.
The cause of the underground pipe rupturing is still unknown.
Officials at the Coast Guard called it a ‘medium sized spill’, and removal operations are still ongoing. Plains All America Pipeline has spearheaded the cleanup, with various governmental organizations assisting. Multiple vessels are corralling and cleaning the oil off shore, but it will undoubtedly be a while until all reminders of this accident fade. The noxious fumes are still prevalent throughout most of the spill area, and remnants of the crude oil will wash up for many months to come.
Afflicted wildlife are being collected and sent to a specialized facility in San Pedro who knows how to properly treat the animals.
The incident has sparked strong debate among many local residents about the benefits and risks of oil pipelines running through environmentally rich areas.