New reports indicate that the California pipeline that spilled thousands of gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean on May 19 is the only pipeline of its kind in the United States without an auto shut-off valve. Several decades ago, the original owner of the Plains All American Pipeline argued in a Santa Barbara County court that since the pipeline is part of an interstate network and federal regulators are not required to have an auto shut-off valve, they should also be exempt. They won the argument and the pipeline hasn’t had an auto shut-off valve since.

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The ruptured pipeline is estimated to have spilled 101,000 gallons of oil, killing one sea lion, 9 pelicans, and an untold number of fish and creating a 10-square-mile slick in the ocean. Federal regulators insist the company should locate the part of the pipeline that burst and send the metal in for testing before they will be permitted to resume pumping oil inland.

Two public Santa Barbara beaches, El Refugio and El Capitan, will remain closed until June 4, 2015 as cleanup operations along the shore continue. Volunteers interested to join those efforts may contact the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Application details can be found on their website.

Via Mercury News

Images via Refugio Response Joint Information Center; Copyright 2015 Witt | O’Brien’s