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 »

  • Fresh oil in Summerland

    A New Spill? We are getting several reports in recent hours of oil washing up in and around Summerland, CA (south of the city of Santa Barbara).  At this point, the source is unclear.  As with the sighting in late July, this could well prove to be simply heightened seep oil activity, but the volume… Read more »

  • Line 96

    Unstranding Stranded Oil Venoco’s Ellwood Onshore Facility and Mobile Line 96 has had a bunch of pent up oil since the May 19 pipeline break (and associated shutdown) of the Plains All American Pipeline.  Shutting down the Plains All American main pipeline stranded oil in upstream feeder lines.  Venoco was finally granted permission to use… Read more »

  • Accidents beget more accidents…especially in Deepwater

    Here is an interesting poster from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (one of the daughter regulatory arms of the Interior Department birthed from the now dead Minerals Management Service in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon blowout). BSEE analysts have used inspection and accident incident reports from 2011 through 2014 to show that… Read more »

  • Rare Bipartisanship on Oil Regulation

    Wow!  I guess dreams really do come true.  At least when it comes to critiquing federal agencies in the wake of an oil spill.  And when the agency that has been understaff and under-resourced bears some of the blame for an oil spill, you bet that we can all get on board the you are to… Read more »

  • KVTA July 7 Interview

    This past Monday, I returned to the KVTA Morning show with Tom Spence and Rich Gualano to discuss the past month in our Refugio Oil Spill saga.  We discuss the evidence that pipeline oil spanned at least three counties, the problem with a lack of access in the early part of the spill timeline, and… Read more »

  • Unusual Metrics: Documenting our Workload

    Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. — Albert Einstein   We have been fortunate to have been running a Summer Institute for undergraduates from CSU Channel Islands and our regional Community Colleges since 2009.  Every June we pull in students from these campuses and embed them… Read more »

  • Naples Reef Still Looking Good

      Our colleagues at Santa Barbara Channelkeeper just ran another subtidal inspection on Naples Reef (a few minutes south of the Refugio spill epicenter) and happily again found no obvious sign of major oiling in the area.  This combined with our previous surveys in this same area a few weeks back and California Reef Check‘s… Read more »

  • Deepwater Horizon: The Settlement

    Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush? Apparently government and industry lawyers both think so. I’m eating some squid nigiri and a baked crawfish California roll at my favorite sushi spot in Thousand Oaks to celebrate the end to this five-year escapade and pen this here blog entry. But enough about… Read more »

  • Infrastructure Update: Things Opening Up

    El Capitan State Beach is currently slated to re-open to the the general public this Friday, June 26.  El Capitan was heavily oiled beginning late in the day on May 20, 2015 (day 2 of the spill), but was nevertheless exposed to less intense oiling than Refugio State Beach.  Refugio will remain closed for at… Read more »

  • Summer Institute

    We are just wrapping up another fantastic three weeks with our annual installment of Project ACCESO’s Summer Institute.  This program, funded by the Department of Education, blends CSU Channel Islands undergrads with undergraduate from community colleges across our region.  This year, our ESRM team was fortunate to have student researchers from Santa Barbara City College,… Read more »