Spill Spurs Calls for Legislative Action

Oil shown washed up on the shore in Goleta California from a pipeline break. Photo by Bill Rice.
Goleta Oil Spill

Oil shown washed up on the shore in Goleta California from a pipeline break.

Oil shown washed up on the shore in Goleta California from a pipeline break.

Three weeks after a corroded oil pipeline ruptured, spilling more than 100,000 gallons of oil, including 20,000 gallons into the ocean at Refugio State Beach, state lawmakers and environmental advocates on Tuesday stepped up calls for action to prevent similar incidents.

The state Senate on Tuesday created a Select Committee on the Refugio Oil Spill and announced it will conduct a joint hearing with the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on June 26 in Santa Barbara.

Meanwhile, Patagonia, the Ventura outdoor clothing company widely known for its environmental ethic, has sent an email to nearly a quarter-million California customers and supporters asking that they urge state legislators to support a bill that would close a loophole that provides an exemption to a statewide prohibition on offshore oil-drilling in state waters.

In a statement, Rick Ridgeway, the company’s vice president for environmental affairs, notes that Patagonia is “dependent on fossil fuels and we must take more steps to gain energy from clean sources. But we also believe that environmental disasters can move society quickly in the right direction.”

The bill would eliminate an exemption in the California Coastal Sanctuary Act that potentially allows drilling to access oil reserves in state-controlled ocean waters, where drilling is otherwise prohibited.