By Miriam Raftery
Photo: "Refugio Oil Spill in Santa Barbara" by Zackmann08
Updated to include expanded size of spill, now five times earlier estimates
May 20, 2015 (Santa Barbara) – A ruptured pipeline has caused a nine-mile-wide oil spill in the ocean off the Santa Barbara coast. The environmental disaster occurred 46 years after the catastrophic 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill.
While emergency crews work to try and clean up the estimated 110,000 gallon spill, campgrounds and beaches at Refugio State Beach have been evacuated due to severe air quality, water pollution and oil oozing onto the sand as Memorial Day weekend draws near. Warnings have been issued for nearby El Capitan State Beach as the oil slick moves southward with the currents.