Thanks to the just-passed Trump Tax Bill (and associated language therein unrelated to taxes), the federal government’s Department of the Interior is poised to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge‘s so called 1002 (“ten-oh-two”) lands to new oil and gas exploration.  

2016 Major Tanker Spill

The International Oil Spill Response Technical Seminar brought together over 150 representatives of national government, oil industry and oil spill response companies and shows China is beginning to take oil spill preparations seriously.  A variety of topics were discussed in various sessions including legal, management, and engineering issues.  For example the International Maritime Organization presented on… Read more »

Houston-area petrochemical plants growing concern

Thanks to our friends at Axios, NPR, Vox, and the army of local and national media for their great reporting efforts going on across the Gulf right now.  This post is gleaned from a range of news feeds. Arkema Plant We have new reports of two explosions at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas… Read more »

2 Years Ago Today

Two years ago today (about 18 hours after the initial release), our field teams were onsite at El Capitan State Beach monitoring sandy beach conditions just prior to the arrival of the spreading oil slick from the Plains All American Pipeline break’s epicenter at Refugio State Beach.  We’ve learned much over the ensuing two years… Read more »

Coaled Feet

This via our friends at Tulane’s TUWaterWays:   A proposed coal terminal in Plaquemines Parish is coming into conflict with the Coastal Master Plan, leading to questions about the future of a major restoration project in the Plan. In addition to the proposed terminal, the new facility, owned by Ram Terminals, would include a railroad… Read more »

Oral History of the 1969 SB Spill

To some, the impact of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill was environmental.  To be sure there was ecological harm all around (see any of my old lectures if you are curious about that).  But the bigger impacts were upon the burgeoning Environmental Movement, igniting of a generation of environmental activism, birthing a new paradigm/cultural… Read more »

Venoco Bankrupt

Wow!  Our venerable, longtime offshore and coastal oil and gas producer here in Ventura and Santa Barbara–Venoco–has shuttered operations and is entering bankruptcy.  On Monday (April 17, 2017), Venoco filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. This was their second filing within the past year for Bankruptcy protection, but all… Read more »

BP’s Alaskan Well Blowout

British Petroleum’s (BP) oil and gas well on Alaska’s Northern Slope (formally the BPXA Flow Station 1 Drill Site 2 Well 3 Release) that blew out on Friday continues to spill petroleum.  The remoteness of the site translates into essentially all the info coming from BP (or via state authorities who are in turn passing… Read more »

River Spill

We are in southern Louisiana with my ESRM 492: Service Learning in New Orleans class.  Today we head down to lower Plaquemines Parish and it just so happens at 2am this morning we had a small spill of oil in the river.  Details are still flowing in and the Coast Guard are responding, but so… Read more »

Chennai Oil Spill

Our friends in India are battling a new oil spill that began in the early morning hours of Saturday, January 28, 2017.  The cargo ships BM Maple (UK flagged) and Dawn Kanchipuram (Indian flagged) collided about 4 km outside the mouth of Kamrajar Harbor, itself about 24 km north of Chennai Port, Chennai in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.  The Dawn… Read more »

  • Summerland Oil…Again

    For the past several days we have been seeing unusually heavy oil deposition along the beaches in Summerland, centered just below Lookout Park.  While we have been in a period of higher than normal seep activity for the past year or so, this tarring event seems beyond a mere seep event.  This smacks of some… Read more »

  • The Great Oil Miscalculation

    It is hard to underestimate the influence our Federal Energy Information Agency (EIA) has on energy markets.  Their annual and quarterly reports, littered with predictions, drive investments, public policy, and global understanding of energy production and consumption. So the recent coming to terms with the fact that the EIA has of late been hugely overestimating American… Read more »

  • Refugio Spill Seminars

    Santa Barbara Channelkeeper is hosting a series of Refugio Oil Spill-related talks through the end of March 2016.  It looks like there will be some great presentations!

  • More Plastics…

    Reporters are continuing to cover our work on documenting the magnitude of plastic pollution across our world ocean and the potential impacts from all this unintended petroleum waste, both macro and micro.  This week our CSUCI team headed over to downtown Ventura for a presentation to the general public on what we have found to date…. Read more »

  • Offshore Fracking Halted Temporarily

    The Santa Barbara Environmental Defense Center’s 2014 challenge to Interior’s policy of offshore fracking with limited public notice has met with success by the courts.  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau on Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) have agreed to re-analyze the environmental dangers of offshore fracking, with their environmental impact assessment of the process/policy to… Read more »

  • After the Spill: Oil & Coastal Wetland Loss

    Recovery in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon has been something of a slow recovery when it comes to the most impacted communities (mid- and deepwater).  More readily-viewable areas have seen mixed recovery. Much of the discussion in Louisiana has centered around the payments or “getting back to work.”  A new documentary, After The Spill,… Read more »

  • Mapping Spill Impacts

    We saw some really neat efforts to map oil spills and explore impacts associated with spills in spatially-explicit ways at last summer’s ESRI Users Conference in San Diego.  This very brief rundown of what was on display shows how the science of documenting oil spill impacts has embraced geospatial science.  GIS is no longer a secondary concern.  Rather, it… Read more »

  • Fire threatening oil infrastructure

    The current Solimar Beach Fire raging north of the City of Ventura is threatening numerous oil drilling and storage areas adjacent to Pacific Coast Highway along the Rincon coast of northwestern Ventura/southeastern Santa Barbara County.

  • Leadbetter Classic: Surf & Pollution Ed

    Lakey Peterson Bowl   Today part our our sandy beach team trekked up to Santa Barbara’s Leadbetter Beach for the second annual Lakey Peterson Keiki Bowl/Leadbetter Classic.  This mix between surf competition and camp is a collaboration between pro surfer Lakey Peterson, Santa Barbara surf school Surf Happens, and the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation.  In addition to… Read more »

  • ExxonMobil Investigated for Possible Climate Change Deception

    Lipstick on a Pig? It appears to be no coincidence that ExxonMobil has recently released a new series of beautiful and very slick TV and online ads implying that they are all about innovation and very interested in alternative energies.  (Their most recent releases are below:) Reality is far from the images portrayed in this… Read more »