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Federal Agency Issues Final Report On Causes Of 2015 Oil Spill In Santa Barbara County

More than 140,000 gallons of oil spilled on May 19th, 2015 following a pipeline rupture at Refugio State Beach

On the one year anniversary of the massive Santa Barbara County oil spill, a federal agency has released its final report on its investigation of the causes of the accident.

A pipeline owned by Plains All-American Pipeline ruptured at Refugio State Beach, spilling more than 140,000 gallons of oil and prompting a months long offshore and onshore cleanup effort. The more than 500 page report by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration says the factors include corrosion of the pipeline, failure to find, and fix the problem, and a lack of timely detection.

The report says the spill was larger than it should have been because the pipeline didn’t have an adequate leak related warning system. Investigators say as a result, the spill continued longer than it should have, and that at one point, a pipeline controller actually restarted the pipeline after the rupture occurred.

And, the report says control room staff lacked formalized training on leak detection, and emergency shutdowns. Earlier this week, a Santa Barbara County Grand Jury handed down 46 criminal indictments against the pipeline company, and one of its employees for the spill.

Link to PHMSA Report:

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