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.

Latest
  • 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 »

  • First hints at changing perceptions

    Our on-going public opinion polling of beach goers in the wake of the Refugio Oil Spill is beginning to show some interesting patterns.  We are still in the midst of collecting data (check back in a week or two when we have had a chance to fully explore this data coming in daily), but a… Read more »

  • This Toxic Tar

    Spoiler Alert: Our experiments are showing tar balls washing up on our beaches to be toxic to our local sand crabs.  If you are looking for that info, scroll to the Tar’s Toxicity heading at bottom of this post.  If you want get a brief primer on Ecotoxicology, then start right here… A brief history of poisons: French… Read more »

  • KCRW Covers Our Team

    Larry Perel did a great update on our beach monitoring efforts.  We recorded this last week, but he has updated his story with some of our more recent efforts.  Check out his story that aired on KCRW yesterday by clicking on the image below.

  • LA Beaches pretty clean

    Note: this is a field posting from a Mobil device, please excuse errors.  This post will be cleaned up this evening.    We have been getting to our more routine survey sites in Los Angeles County over the past few days.  We have seen no evidence of more recent tarring.  Generally the beaches in LA… Read more »

  • Our ROVs: Prowling for Oil

    Note: This is a partial re-post with some modifications from my students’ Aerial and Aquatic Robotic Research Blog. Check out what my students are doing now and have been doing in recent months with these killer new tools here: The AARR PIRatE Lab Blog.  Several of them are exhibiting some of our flying and swimming units at the… Read more »

  • Exxon: Drive rather than Pipe

    One of the many policy consequences of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil was a strong regulator of oil drilling and transportation at the county level in Santa Barbara County.  Santa Barbara County’s Planning and Development Department’s powerful Energy Division is an amazingly strong office with a suite of powerful permitting and oversight tools across oil… Read more »

  • OpenROV Live Posting

    We will attempt to post info about our subsurface trials of our deposited oil surveys here today, assuming we have connectivity.  https://openexplorer.com/expedition/refugio/#post-3663017