The largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years

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Gov. Jerry Brown declares state of emergency

On May 19th, an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a 6-inch rupture in a 10.6-mile-long pipeline along the coast near Santa Barbara. At least 21,000 gallons ended up in the Pacific Ocean, where it will be impossible to ever fully recover. Authorities say 136 birds and 67 mammals have been found dead since the spill.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration found that corrosion had eaten away the pipe’s metal wall. Other points of the pipe were even worse than the spot that failed.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenience to the community,” said a spokesperson for Plains All American, the company responsible for the spill.

While the oil companies save face, Environment California will do everything necessary to save our coasts from the real dangers of drilling. This latest spill just reiterates what we already know: we can’t extract oil and transport it without putting our beaches, wildlife, coastal communities at risk. It’s time to call these oil companies’ bluff.

The Refugio State Beach spill, which now covers at least 9 miles of California’s natural coastline, is not the first to hit Santa Barbara County. The infamous Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 spewed an estimated 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, creating an oil slick 35 miles long and killing thousands of birds, fish and sea mammals. It also gave birth to the modern environmental movement.

Unfortunately, it appears we are still fighting the same fight we fought more than 45 years ago. Oil companies and state government pledge to protect our coastline, but overlook the obvious solution: clean, renewable energy.

Our remaining natural coastline is too precious to risk to the dangers of drilling—and we know no amount of safety regulations can prevent a disaster. The sad fact is: when you drill, you spill.

If you agree that we need to do more to move toward clean energy and protect our home from the dangers of drilling, say you’ll join our fight to move California in the right direction.