Santa Barbara Channelkeeper Statement on May 19 Oil Spill at Refugio - Waterkeeper

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper Statement on May 19 Oil Spill at Refugio

By: Waterkeeper Alliance

Photo credit: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 – Santa Barbara, CA – In the wake of today’s oil spill, where a pipeline ruptured and spilled an estimated 21,000 gallons of oil at Refugio State Beach, the local environmental watchdog organization Santa Barbara Channelkeeper issued the following statement:

“Channelkeeper is sickened to learn of the oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel and is extremely concerned about its inevitable impacts on water quality and marine life. We will be out on the water to investigate the extent and impacts of the spill, monitor the containment efforts, keep the public updated, provide any assistance we can with the clean-up, and ultimately ensure that the responsible party cleans up the oil that has marred our precious beaches, ocean and marine life,” said Kira Redmond, Channelkeeper’s Executive Director.

Channelkeeper urges the public to stay off the beach and out of the water in the vicinity of the spill, and to avoid trying to help with clean-up efforts at this early stage. Oil is toxic and oil spill response volunteers must be trained to handle hazardous materials. The best way to help is to stay away from contaminated areas to minimize scaring oiled wildlife and prevent tracking oil into otherwise clean areas. Any sightings of oiled wildlife should be reported to the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network at (805) 681-1080 or the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Center at (805) 687-3255. Please also call (877) 823-6926 to report wildlife affected by the oil spill and to get these animals help.

Channelkeeper will draw on the experience and expertise of Waterkeeper Alliance’s Rapid Response
Team and local Waterkeeper organizations who’ve led recent oil spill response efforts in San Francisco Bay and the Gulf of Mexico to ensure that appropriate clean-up, mitigation and enforcement occur in response to the May 19th spill in the Santa Barbara Channel. Channelkeeper will also continue to work with California Coastkeeper Alliance to advance needed reforms to our state’s laws and policies governing oil development, transport and spill response.

For more information, contact:
Kira Redmond, Executive Director, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, at (805) 563-3377 ext.1 (office) or (805) 452-8647 (mobile)

Or Ben Pitterle, Marine and Watershed Program Director, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, at (805) 563-3377 ext.3 (office) or (805) 636-6189 (mobile)