SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA.com/AP) — California Attorney General Kamala Harris was in Santa Barbara Thursday to tour cleanup efforts at the Refugio State Beach and the surrounding area affected by last month’s oil spill.
The spill on May 19 blackened beaches near Santa Barbara with crude oil, spilling over 100,000 gallons of crude into the Pacific Ocean and onto coastal beaches and creating a 9-mile slick in the ocean.
Both Harris’s office and the Santa Barbara District Attorney are conducting a joint investigation of the oil spill.
Following the tour, Harris told reporters investigators are looking into possible criminal or civil charges linked to the spill.
“We’re here to investigate and determine whether there was criminal behavior,” she said. “It’s something that we’re taking very seriously.”
A preliminary government report has found that a pipeline rupture that spilled an estimated 101,000 gallons of crude oil along the Central California coastline occurred along a badly corroded section that had worn away to a fraction of an inch.
The findings released Wednesday by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said investigators estimated that corrosion at the break site had degraded the pipe wall thickness to 1/16 of an inch.
The report noted repairs had been made to the pipeline because of corrosion after 2012 in an area near the break.
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