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Environment

State Releases Report On Its Handling Of 2015 Refugio State Beach Oil Spill

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Aerial view of May, 2015 oil spill at Refugio State Beach

A new state report on the handling of the May, 2015 Refugio oil spill says the state did a reasonably successful job in its part of dealing with the emergency, but includes a number of recommendations for improvements.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention released a 70 plus page report on the handling of the spill, which was triggered by an onshore oil pipeline rupture.

The report says the state did a good job of working with federal and local agencies, and promptly closed fisheries to keep the area clear for cleanup efforts. It outlines more than 60 recommendations for improving the handling of incidents, such as setting up plans with contractors, and universities for water, soil, and other testing related to future incidents. It also suggests efforts to improve communications with local community groups.

The federal government had ultimate authority over cleanup of the 140,000 gallon spill in Santa Barbara County.  Its final report on the cause of the spill is still pending, but preliminary information indicated there was heavy corrosion on the section of pipeline which ruptured.