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.

Refugio Oil Spill History: Timeline Part 1

The one-year anniversary of the Refugio Oil Spill has brought with it a raft of renewed interest in this oil spill and the consequences as we now see them.  We’ve done a good deal of media over the last couple of weeks.  Add to that plenty of breaking stories from all quarters (often speaking to… Read more »

Toast that repair guy…

Raise that Glass The one year anniversary of the Refugio Oil Spill is fast approaching.  Lots of folks have been asking my colleagues and me about the impacts of this spill now that we have the perspective of a year.  Well, first and foremost, I’m hugely appreciative to the repair man.

Coastal Commission Pushback

To say that the California Coastal Commission has been in something of an upheaval in recent months is an understatement.  The insanity even rubbed off on me and one of the boards I serve on (but that is a story for later).  The ouster of the Commission’s Executive Director in closed-doored session and with barely… Read more »

  • 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 »

  • Environmental Protection in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria by Eghosa Ekhator

    While there are some formatting issues with this open access paper by Eghosa Ekhator, his central tenants are solid.  To all our friends who would have us suspend oil drilling in the U.S., I would suggest that at a minimum it is morally untenable to do so without first ceasing extraction in locations around the world… Read more »

  • Oiling is Localized to Summerland

    After several hours of detailed field assessments across Summerland beaches and associated explorations of neighboring beaches bracketing the Summerland area yesterday, we now have a much clearer and complete picture of the current beach oiling event occurring in Summerland at the moment.  Below I summarize the state of affairs as of Sunday, August 23, 2015.  … Read more »

  • Summerland field observations

    More to come shortly, but the oiling here appears to clearly be a case of heavier than normal seep activity. The issue seems to have been driven by some local topography concentrating the oil into some rather defined pools/swales.  Several of these happen to be right at the foot of the main public ramp/entrance to… Read more »