According to the Associated Press, reports of a foul smell near Refugio State Beach led authorities to a half-mile slick around noon that they were able to trace to an onshore pipe that spilled into a culvert and then into a storm drain that flowed into the Pacific Ocean.
The pipeline is owned by Plains All American Pipeline and the company said it initiated an emergency response plan to block additional oil from reaching the ocean. “‘Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact,'” the company said in a statement, according to the Santa Barbara Independent. “‘Our focus remains on ensuring the safety of all involved. No injuries have been reported at this time.'”
The spill is on the same stretch of coastland as a historic 1969 oil spill, the Associated Press reported. At the time, the 1969 spill was the worst oil spill in U.S. waters. It was also an inspiration for Earth Day and was instrumental in the American environmental movement.
Buzzfeed reported that authorities hope to have the cleanup done in time for Memorial Day weekend.