BREAKING: Thousands Of Gallons Of Crude Oil Have Spilled From A Southern California Pipeline

SOURCEThink Progress

According to the Ventura County fire department, up to 700 barrels of crude oil — some 29,000 gallons — have spilled from a pipeline in southern California. Initial reports placed the amount of oil spilled from the pipeline at 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons, but those totals were revised as of Thursday morning. Officials are relying on a natural catch basin that exists in the area to capture the oil while crews build larger barriers, according to the Los Angeles Times.

As of Thursday afternoon, U.S. Coast Guard officials confirmed that no oil from the spill had reached the ocean, and no homes in the area had been evacuated.

At least some of the oil in the pipeline comes from an oil field operated Aera Energy, an oil production company jointly owned by Shell and ExxonMobil. It is one of California’s largest oil producers, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the state’s oil production, according to the company’s website. The pipeline belongs to Crimson Pipeline, which operates in California and Louisiana.

An investigation is currently underway into the cause of the spill, but Crimson spokesperson Kendall Klingler said that the spilled oil came from a valve on the pipeline, not from a rupture within the pipeline itself. Crimson’s 24-hour command center received a call at 5:30 a.m. PST on Thursday alerting them to the spill — they immediately shut off the pipeline, which had been closed for maintenance and not filled to full capacity, and alerted the proper authorities.

Ventura county workers are currently on the scene beginning the clean-up process, which will entail vacuuming excess oil from contaminated areas — rocks, soil, and any other place that came into contact with the oil. According to California Fish and Wildlife official George Struebel, environmental scientists are on the scene investigating any potential threat to fish and wildlife, but none have been reported.

A year ago, California suffered the largest coastal oil spill in the state in 25 years just west of Ventura, when an oil pipeline ruptured in Santa Barbara County, with some 143,000 gallons of crude flowing to the coast. Thursday’s spill is also located just 15 miles southeast of the site of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, which sent some 3 million gallons of crude into the Pacific Ocean and is largely credited with launching the modern environmental movement.

UPDATE JUN 23, 2016 3:21 PM

This post has been updated with information from a Ventura police department press conference Thursday afternoon.


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