Workers near Santa Barbara, Calif., began a cleanup operation Wednesday, after 21,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Pacific Ocean and onto beaches.
An 11-mile underground oil pipeline ruptured sometime Tuesday, sending crude oil into a culvert that emptied into the ocean, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The pipeline was turned off quickly after officials discovered the leak Tuesday afternoon, but it spilled for hours, creating a 4-milelong sheen that extended 50 yards into the ocean and threatened to move farther south along the coast.
Federal, state and local authorities are working together on the response and cleanup, after oil washed ashore onto miles of beaches in the tourist-heavy area, including in Goleta, the Times said. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) had also been briefed.
A nearby state beach has been closed, as have fisheries in the area, and another beach has posted warnings about potential oil.
Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.), the area’s representative in the House and a longtime foe of the oil industry, said she was “deeply saddened” to see the aftermath of the spill.
“This incident is yet another stark reminder of the serious risks to our environment and economy that come from drilling for oil,” she said in a statement.