The California governor declared a state of emergency after a major oil spill in the Pacific Ocean after a pipeline was damaged.
In the wake of the spill, which was recorded near Santa Barbara, northwest of Los Angeles, footage filmed from helicopters flying over the site revealed the existence of a contaminated spot along a 14 km stretch on the ocean coast.
California Governor Edmund Brown declared a state of emergency in the Santa Barbara tourist district, so that he could send cleaning teams “quickly.” “We will do everything we can to protect California’s coasts,” he said.
Teams of clean-up workers in white jackets are trying to collect oil on the beach, mediated by shovels, in the “Refugio Beach” camp, which has been evacuated until the clean-up ends.
Several environmental groups are warning of the potential long-term consequences of this oil slick.
According to recent estimates announced by the authorities on Wednesday afternoon, the volume of the leak amounted to about 400 thousand liters, of which eighty thousand reached the ocean.
And he detected the leakage from one of the pipes operated by the “Plains All American Pipeline” company, which said that it had cut off the pipeline supply of oil as soon as the leak was discovered and explained that the oil had leaked into the ocean through a drainage channel and it had been closed.
The company said that after learning the cause of the leak, “there is no longer any oil flowing into the water,” expressing its deep regret for this pollution.
She emphasized that it “is doing everything it can to reduce its impact on the environment.” However, it did not disclose the amount of oil that leaked.
The beaches around Santa Barbara usually receive thousands of visitors on the weekend, which is added to Memorial Day for those killed in combat, but with this leak, tourists will likely switch destinations.
And environmental groups expressed their regret for the leak and confirmed that mistakes were made.
“There are still many questions, especially why there was no automatic shutdown system on this relatively new pipeline, and why the first measures were not more effective to stop the leak,” said Owen Bailey, director of the Environmental Defense Center group.
“This area is rich in wildlife, especially endangered whale species, and this coast bears a symbolic character and attracts people from all over the world,” he added.
Catherine Phillips, director of the Sierra Club group, said, “It is time to ask this very rich industry for more.”