On Wednesday, California governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency due to pipeline ruptures leaking gallons of oil near Santa Barbara coastline that spread across 9 miles of water.
“This emergency proclamation cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources,” Brown said. “We will do everything necessary to protect California’s coastline.”
Crews are working round the clock to clean up the largest oil spill in nearly two decades. Officials informed that up to 105,000 gallons may have leaked out to the sea, threatening wildlife and spreading a foul smell.
Federal regulators were investigating as to what caused the leak.
The chief executive of Plains All American Pipeline LP rushed to the spill spot to inspect the site on Wednesday and apologized for the occurrence.
“We deeply, deeply regret that this incident has occured at all,” Chairman and CEO Greg L. Armstrong said during a conference. “We apologize for the damage that it’s done to the wildlife and to the environment and we’re very sorry for the disruption and inconvenience that it’s caused on the citizens and the visitors to this area.”
When company officials spotted the leakage, they immediately shut it down. It is not yet confirmed what caused the leak and how fast the oil spilled.
Federal regulators from the Department of Transportation are investigating as to what caused the leakage, the condition of the pipeline and possible regulatory infringement.
Plains said that the 24-inch pipe constructed in 1991 had no problems and was thoroughly examined in 2012. The pipe was also examined two weeks ago, the result of such was still much-awaited.
It is not yet confirmed how long the cleanup process will take and how much it will cost.
Despite the area being barricaded, the California coast saw tourists arriving just to see the disaster.
“It smells like what they use to pave the roads,” said Fan Yang from Indianapolis. “I’m sad for the birds — if they lose their habitat.”