A nine-mile-long oil spill off the California coast has prompted Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to declare an official state of emergency, saying that “the emergency proclamation cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources,” RT reported.
The broken pipe that caused the spill is run by Plains All American Pipeline (PAAP), a Houston-based company which said yesterday the pipe was carrying about 1,300 barrels an hour when the leak was discovered. Of the estimated 105,000 gallons that spilled, more than 20,000 gallons flowed into the Pacific Ocean.
Federal regulators have not yet figured out what caused the pipe to break, nor is anyone sure how long the pipe had been dumping oil before the leak was found.
“We deeply, deeply regret that this incident has occurred at all,” said PAAP executive director Greg Armstrong during a news conference.
“We apologize for the damage that it’s done to the wildlife and the environment,” said Armstrong, adding that workers “will remain here until everything has been restored to normal.”
Cleanup efforts, however, could last months as “currents, tides, and winds make the oil slick a ‘moving target,’” Coast Guard Captain Jennifer Williams said.
Incidents like these will never go away as long as the world continues to guzzle fossil fuels at its current rate.
“No matter how good the technology, as long as there is oil development there will be spills again and again,” said Get Oil Out! President Mike Lyons said at a protest at the Santa Barbara courthouse yesterday.
Thankfully, Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for a review of all state oil contracts that will include added scrutiny for PAAP, which has racked up 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006 according to the Los Angeles Times. Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley also said her office and the office of the state attorney general were investigating PAPP for “possible criminal prosecution of a finding of civil liability,” The Guardian reported.
“This company will be held to the account that it’s responsible,” said Newsom, “but first and foremost, it’s about cleanup and mitigation, and addressing the longer-term risks and assessing our other pipes throughout the state.”
Until the country shifts to predominantly using clean forms of energy and the White House finally enforces tighter regulations on the oil industry, expect to see more and more spills like this.
Watch RT’s coverage of the spill.