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 »

Ballooning Plastic

A few distinct, but unrelated experiences have brought the issue of plastic balloons in the ocean into frequent conversation this week. It began with last Saturday’s annual California Coastal Cleanup Day.  I happened to be out on Santa Cruz Island with my son’s Boy Scout Troop.  Our 30 scouts made quick work of the debris… Read more »

Ojai Oil Tank On Fire

A now more than 12 alarm fire erupted within the past hour in Ojai, California (in western Ventura County).  The incident was reported at 8:35 a.m. near Highway 150 and Topa Lane roughly here ( 34.438417°, -119.132719°): The incident was originally thought to be a burning oil derrick, but subsequent reports have clarified that it is instead a… Read more »

Rio’s Toxic Olympic Waters

Every two years the Olympic Games roll around and we are treated to endless commentary and an amazingly small amount of actual sport (at least on NBC Universal Channels that have a stranglehold on U.S. broadcasts via their $7.75 billion contract).  Outside of the NBC hype machine, we have seen a pattern in recent years of… Read more »

Ball of Confusion: Hall Canyon 1 Month On

It is almost one month since our most recent energy infrastructure foundering: Crimson Pipeline’s release of crude oil into the hills above the City of Ventura.  Lots of developments continue to burble up as we all try to figure out the next surprise.

Hall Canyon Spill

Yet another start of the summer and yet another pipeline break on the south coast.

  • 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 »

  • An X Prize for Going Deep

    The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE seeks to usher in a new era of deep exploration of the oceans.  This will both help with/foster both basic and applied research.  Not the least of which will be to boost our understanding of baseline conditions before subsequent impacts from deep sea mining of oil/gas extraction.

  • Refugio Spill Talk at WSN

    Last weekend our sandy beach troupe made the long (6.5 hour) drive up to Sacramento for the 96th annual meeting of the Western Society of Naturalists.  This is a core meeting for our research group and one of the few meetings we attend every year, rain or shine.  This year’s meeting saw several of our students and professors presenting… Read more »

  • Pipeline Repairs Will Take A Loooong Time

    News is just breaking that the repair of the embattled trunk line delivering crude oil from Refugio’s onshore distribution facility to refineries in Kern County that ruptured last May and caused the Refugio Oil Spill may take a long, long time to repair. While I have found such estimates to almost assuredly be overblown, the sheer order… Read more »

  • Air Quality & Urban Oil Fields

    Source: Southern California air board puts new restrictions on urban oil fields – LA Times We have seen a spate of complaints about air quality near our urban oil fields here in southern California over the past few years.  This appears related to increased use of hydraulic fracturing methods to free up oil and gas… Read more »

  • Louisiana oil and gas industry is already investing: A letter to the editor

    Source: Oil and gas industry is already investing in coastal restoration: A letter to the editor | NOLA.com   Mr. Marc Ehrhardt, executive director of the Grow Louisiana Coalition just penned this op-ed in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, one of many such op-eds marking the multifaceted state of recovery of the Louisiana Gulf region on… Read more »