Pipeline Bursts, Spills Oil into Ocean Near Santa Barbara

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Authorities were responding to an apparent oil slick in the ocean off Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County on May 19, 2015. (Credit: KTLA)


Emergency officials and Exxon responded to an apparent 4-miles-wide oil slick off the coast of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County on Tuesday.

Officials say a broken pipeline has spilled oil into the ocean off the central California coast.

Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department says a pipeline on the land near Refugio State Beach broke Tuesday and spilled water into a culvert that ran under the U.S. 101 freeway and into the ocean.

The Coast Guard said the spill on Refugio Beach stretches approximately 4 miles wide.

The pipeline has been shut off, but officials say about 21,000 gallons of oil spilled into the ocean.

Zaniboni said firefighters responding to reports of the smell of gas on the beach found the thick black slick and traced it to the pipeline.

Cleanup has begun, and the U.S. Coast Guard, state parks and county emergency officials are responding.

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