SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA.com) — Crews continue to cleanup an oil spill off the Santa Barbara coast.
Officials said Thursday that 250 barrels of oil had spilled. This was a lower estimate of the nearly 2,500 barrels originally believed to have been spilled.
Brittney Hopper, reporting for KCAL9, said work crews and boats would still be staying overnight to contain the spill that has stretched about 9 miles, authorities said.
Goleta, which is north of Santa Barbara and just south of where a state of emergency was declared, is also on high alert.
As the sun set on day three of the spill, federal, state and local crews continued their cleanup using skimmers and booms.
Thousands of gallons of crude oil have spilled onto Refugio State Beach just north of Santa Barbara because of a pipeline that ruptured onshore Tuesday afternoon.
Locals fear it’s going to continue to get worse.
“I feel really bad for the marine life. obviously,” said one resident.
“Awful. Not only is the beach destroyed and we can’t enjoy it, but then you see all the pictures of the animals, and they’re covered in oil,” said another.
A picture of a sea lion with oil in her eyes was posted on social media Thursday. Another resident posted a picture of a pelican covered in it.
Fish and wildlife say six pelicans were rescued and taken to San Pedro to rehabilitate. A juvenile sea lion was also rescued as the animal’s body was 35 percent covered in oil.
“The general public may want to help, but the fact is trying to capture a wild animal is dangerous both to the animal and to the people,” said Mike Zacardia with UC Davis.
The company responsible for the spill, Plains All American Pipeline, apologized again Thursday for what could be up to 100,000 gallons of oil that spilled.
The company also addressed questions about past violations.
“Since we are one of the largest operators of pipelines across the United States, the number of reportable incidents by percentage is well within the industry norm; however, our goal is zero,” said a company spokesperson.
The spill has traveled more than 9 miles south. The Coast Guard says booms have helped.
Hopper reported it could take weeks or even months to find out the exact cause of the ruptured pipeline.