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Oil Spill Reported Off Refugio Beach
updated: May 20, 2015, 8:21 AM

Update by the Unified Command of Refugio Response
May 20, 2015 6:10 pm

UPDATE 3: Coast Guard Continues to Oversee Clean Up of Refugio Oil Spill

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Unified Command is continuing clean-up operations at the Refugio Beach oil spill in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Product and water is being recovered by vacuum trucks from oil containment areas. Contractors are working to remove contained pockets of oil utilizing skimmers, vacuum trucks, absorbent pads, and absorbent boom. Additional cleanup actions are ongoing through the sandy beaches in the affected area. Approximately 3,000 feet of containment boom has been deployed.

The response has initiated an active area-sampling plan to identify areas impacted as a result of the oil spill. 24 hour ambient air testing has been initiated throughout the affected area.

The responsible party, Plains All-American Pipeline, is working closely with the responding agencies which include the Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Santa Barbara Office of Emergency Management. More than 272 responders are taking part in the cleanup effort and more personnel enroute.

Continued assessments are being conducted via commercial aircraft alongside both commercial and Federal vessels.

El Capitan Beach has been closed to the public by California State Parks for the next 7 days until next Thursday. State Parks will be continuality assessing the clean-up operation to evaluate if the closer will need to be extended.

A fishing ban has been established by the Department of Fish and Wildlife until data reflects that the fish are safe to eat. The closure is initiated from one mile east to one mile west of Refugio State Beach and a distance of ½ mile off shore.

Both shoulders of the North and South bound Highway 101 have been closed to all parking and traffic.

The direct contact for the Joint information Center is (805) 696-1188.

For individuals who want to file a claim for compensation please contact (866) 753-3619

For individuals who come across affected wildlife please contact the Oil Wildlife Care Network at 877-823-6926.

For individuals who wish to volunteer in the clean-up effort please you can find more information at Calspillwatch.com

If anyone comes into contact with oil and feels any symptoms to go to the nearest emergency room.

Individuals are urged to stay off area beaches as a safety measure and to stay away from petroleum products. Refugio Beach has been closed to the public.

Update by the Unified Command of Refugio Response
May 20, 2015 3:40 pm

UPDATE 2: Unified Command Establishes Joint Information Center

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Unified Command has established a Joint Information Center for public information located at the County Emergency Operations Center, Santa Barbara, Calif.

The direct contact for the Joint information Center is (805) 696-1188.

For individuals who want to file a claim for compensation please contact (866) 753-3619

For individuals who come across affected wildlife please contact the Oil Wildlife Care Network at 877-823-6926.

For individuals who wish to volunteer in the clean-up effort please you can find more information at Calspillwatch.com

Individuals are urged to stay off area beaches as a safety measure and to stay away from petroleum products. Refugio Beach has been closed to the public.

If anyone comes into contact with oil and feels any symptoms, go to the nearest emergency room.

“Our priorities during this response are to ensure the safety of the public, mitigate the impact of spilled substance on the environment and wildlife and the waterways and beaches, said Capt. Jennifer Williams, Federal on Scene Coordinator for the response.

In the interest of the public, we will continue our safety, environmental response, and waterway management missions. We appreciate the support of the communities we serve, as well as the federal, state and local agencies that work alongside us.

Update by the Public Health Department
May 20, 2015 2:25 pm

Health Concerns Related to Refugio Oil Spill

Although there have been a few reports of people that experienced headaches or eye and throat irritation yesterday, we are not aware of anyone that has required medical attention related to the oil spill. However, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department cautions residents that there are potential health impacts from the Refugio oil spill.

There are three immediate health risks related to exposure:

  • Direct contact – Direct contact with oil can cause skin irritation.
  • Inhalation – Breathing oil fumes can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, confusion, lethargy, eye, nose and throat irritation and respiratory difficulties.
  • Ingestion – Eating contaminated fish or seafood can cause illness.

    The Health Department recommends all residents avoid contact with areas where the oil spill is present. Refugio Beach remains closed and is considered a Hazmat area and only personnel with Hazmat credentials are authorized be on the beach.

    A public health work group comprised of health experts, toxicologists and hazardous materials specialists has been established within the County’s Emergency Operations Center.

    The Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (OTEH) is performing 24 hour ambient air testing. They will also be doing water and sediment testing during and after clean-up. Testing will detect substances harmful to human health and the environment and this data is being reviewed on a continuous basis by the public health work group. At this time there have been no levels of harmful substances detected that met threshold levels of concern.

    Simply smelling an odor does not equate to health effects. Testing will continue through the initial clean-up phases until we are confident that there is no ongoing risk to public health.

    Update by the Office of Emergency Management
    May 20, 2015 2:25 pm

    El Capitan Beach and Campground are closed effective immediately by California State Parks. This is a precautionary measure taken to ensure the health and saftey of park visitors. For more information please visit http://www.refugioresponse.com

    Update by the Environmental Defense Center
    May 20, 2015 12:22 pm

    Day 2: EDC Statement on Refugio Oil Spill Response

    “The Environmental Defense Center is deeply saddened by the environmental damage we are seeing on the beaches and in the Santa Barbara Channel from yesterday’s oil spill inland of Refugio State Beach. There continues to be a number of questions that have yet to be answered including the size of the spill, why there was no automatic shut-off on this relatively new pipeline, and why the early response was not more successful in halting the flow of crude oil into the fragile waters of the Santa Barbara Channel and across our precious coastline.

    The fact is that oil development is innately risky. We need to realize that allowing these dangerous industrial operations in our most sensitive environments will inevitably lead to oil spills - the most predictable of accidents. And this region is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife including numerous species of endangered whales and iconic coastlands that bring people from across the world to visit. As we monitor the cleanup operations, we must keep in mind that Venoco looks to expand drilling operations from Platform Holly and Sunset Exxon wants to begin new coastal slant drilling from Vandenberg, both projects EDC is working diligently to prevent – and again with oil drilling and accidents it is not a question of if, but when.”

    Update By Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management
    May 20, 2015 8:21 am

    EVENT NAME: Refugio Beach Oil Spill (This report may contain unconfirmed information)

    DATE/TIME OF Report: 05/20/15 at 0800 hours

    LOCATION: Refugio Beach, Santa Barbara County

    IMPACT OF EVENT: MODERATE

    SITUATION UPDATE:
    • Unified Command:
    • Federal On Scene Coordinator - USCG & EPA.
    • State on Scene Coordinator - CA State Parks & CA Fish and Wildlife.
    • The following State personnel are on scene: A Cal OES Fire Assistant Chief, A Cal OES Southern Region Coordinator, Department of Fish and Wildlife, OSPR Field Response Teams.
    • The source of the spill was capped at approximately 1500 hours but a significant amount of oil reached the ocean at Goleta.
    • The Refugio Beach campground was evacuated at the recommendation of the county Health Officer, and State Parks has offered other vacant state campgrounds nearby for those evacuated.
    • Highway 1 and associated rail lines have been inspected and cleared for normal operations.
    • OSPR has ordered a ban on fishing and the taking of shell fish in the spill area.
    • Local Animal Rescue and environmental groups such as Clean Seas and the Environmental Defense Center are mobilizing to assist impacted wildlife.
    • Initial estimate of cleanup time is 3 days.
    • Per Cal OES Southern Region personnel:
    • Approximately 4 miles of Refugio Beach was impacted by the spill.
    • 20 barrels of oil were retrieved from the ocean and 100 barrels of oil were picked up at the spill site.
    • The US Coast Guard is providing security on the water.
    • Clean Seas conducted an overflight at 0630 hours.
    • Three 65 foot vessels are cleaning oil off of the ocean and 6 vessels are corralling oil in the water.
    • Pacific Petroleum is in the process of repairing the ruptured pipeline. ETA to be determined.
    • On shore Patriot Services has 73 personnel conducting protective works for the following sensitive sites (in order of priority):
    • 1. Bell Canyon
    • 2. Tecolote
    • 3. Gaviota

    SITUATION:
    • On 05/19/15 at 1243 hours the California State Warning Center received a report from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department indicating that a ¼ mile sheen was observed off of Refugio State Beach, near Goleta, Santa Barbara County.
    • On 05/19/15 at 1510 hours the NRC reported that Plains All American Pipeline advised that crude oil was discovered to be coming out of a transmission pipeline at a Culvert under Highway 1. They estimated the release is greater than 500 barrels. Contractors responded to scene and the action line was shut in.
    • The California State Warning Center conducted all appropriate notifications, including but not limited to local government agencies.

    This report will be updated as information becomes available.

    Update By Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management
    May 19, 2015 8:40 pm

    Field Response Teams are on-scene and more personnel are currently en-route to the incident. Clean-up crews are on scene addressing the impacts and managing the response to protect the environment. Local, State, and Federal partners are establishing a Unified Command to manage the response efforts. All additional incident information will be disseminated by the on-scene Unified Command and/or CDFW-OSPR’s Operation Support Center.

    Update By Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management
    May 19, 2015 6:07 pm

    Advisory: Oil spill update

    Refugio Beach and the campground at Refugio are both closed at this time due to oil spill. There is a warning at El Capitan beach.

    Statement from the Environmental Defense Center
    May 19, 2015 5:49 pm

    “The Environmental Defense Center is closely monitoring the oil spill off Refugio State Beach. Unfortunately with accidents and oil development, it is not a question of if, but of when. But to see this level of spill into such a sensitive and treasured environment is devastating to watch. These waters are known as the Galapagos of North America with numerous species of endangered whales migrating through marine protected areas and off the iconic and beloved Gaviota Coast.

    In the wake of the terrible 1969 Santa Barbra oil spill, our communities have fought for many years to protect this as one of the most important environments in all of California. Looking forward at new, risky coastal drilling applications from Venoco to drill off Ellwood and Sunset/Exxon to drill from Vandenberg Air Force Base, this is an important reminder that we must redouble our efforts to make safer, cleaner and forward-looking decisions on energy production.”

    -Owen Bailey, Executive Director, Environmental Defense Center

    Update By Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management
    May 19, 2015 4:55 pm

    Advisory: Oil spill update

    The responsible party for the ruptured pipeline near Refugio Beach has been identified as Plains All-American Pipeline. A Incident Command Post has been established and the CG will oversee the clean-up of the oil by the responsible party. Additional information will be released from the Unified Command. see also: https://twitter.com/uscglosangeles

    May 19, 2015 4:14 pm

    Advisory: Coastal oil spill incident

    Reported sheen off Refugio Beach from ruptured pipeline shore side. Spill stretches approx 4 miles wide. County OEM, and County Fire on scene assisting with Fish and Wildlife/OSPR. Clean Seas and Patriot contractors on scene for clean up. Source of the spill has been secured. Additional information to follow from Unified Command. Please avoid the area pending clean up.

    Reports on Social Media:

    An apparent oil spill has created a 4-mile-wide slick on the ocean and darkened a state beach in Santa Barbara County,...

    Posted by KTLA 5 News on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    Update By KEYT News
    2:50 pm

    The source of the oil has been shut down.

    There have not been any evacuations of Refugio State Beach.

    A family living near Orella Ranch along the coast, told NewsChannel 3 that they are self-evacuating the area because the smell is so strong.

    KEYT News

    1:42 pm
    BREAKING: Oil Spill Off Santa Barbara County Coastline

    Several sources have reported an oil slick about a half mile long off the Refugio coastline in Santa Barbara County. County Fire crews, environmental officials, and the U.S. Coast Guard were called out to the scene at about 11:42 a.m. Tuesday, and are currently investigating the spill.

    Read more here

    By the dedicated staff
    1:20 pm

    Edhat subscribers are reporting an oil spill off the Refugio coast. Emergency personnel are responding to the scene.

    Reports By Edhat Subscribers

  • The Palm is reporting a huge oil slick off Refugio and there are many County responders en route - Santa Barbara Co. Fire, Coast Guard etc.

  • Oil Spill Off Santa Barbara County Coastline

  • Best pictures of Oil Spill: KTLA.com

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