Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, July 29, 2015

Contact: Kristen Monsell, (510) 844-7100 x 337,

Large Oil Slick Observed Off California Coast Near Santa Barbara

GOLETA, Calif.— Emergency officials are responding to a 2-mile oil sheen off the California coast near the town of Goleta in Santa Barbara County. The slick extends to Platform Holly, an offshore drilling platform.

Offshore oil rigs
©2015 Drew Bird Photography. This photo of oil rigs off the California coast is available for media use.

Officials have yet to confirm the source of the slick, which follows a massive oil pipeline rupture near Santa Barbara in May that spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude into the Pacific Ocean and blackened beaches down to Los Angeles.

“This new oil slick is another disturbing reminder of the ugly risks of offshore drilling,” said Kristen Monsell with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re waiting for more information on the source of this sheen, but we already know that offshore oil production endangers our beaches, wildlife and climate. We’ll see spill after spill if we don’t shut down these aging oil platforms and pipelines.”
Oil spills are a common consequence of drilling for oil. The Plains All American pipeline that ruptured and caused the Refugio Oil Spill was 28 years old. Preliminary findings indicate that the pipeline was badly corroded, and many of the offshore pipelines in the Pacific Ocean are even older. Federal pipeline data shows the risk of pipeline failures increase substantially after 30 years.

The sheen is reportedly near Platform Holly, which was built in 1965. The pipeline connecting the platform to shore was constructed in 1969, with the surfzone portion replaced in 1997. A June 2010 inspection of the crude oil emulsion pipeline identified “‘extensive’ corrosion, primarily internal and found along the bottom half of the pipeline, ranging in wall loss from 20 percent to 67.3 percent.”

The Center recently objected to an application by Venoco, which owns Platform Holly, to nearly triple oil production from areas that have been off limits to oil leasing (see: ).

“Fear of yet another oil spill in Santa Barbara is strong because people are still reeling from the Plains pipeline spill that killed hundreds of birds and marine mammals,” Monsell said. “The best way to prevent these devastating spills is to retire California’s aging oil platforms.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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