Jackson Issues Statement on Anniversary of Refugio Oil Spill

May 19, 2016

SACRAMENTO – It’s been a year since a ruptured pipeline spilled nearly 143,000 gallons of crude oil onto land and into the ocean at Refugio State Beach. Today, Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) issued the following statement in recognition of that day:

“The Refugio Oil Spill was devastating, killing more than 200 birds and nearly 100 marine mammals and costing millions of dollars to our local economy. Key questions remain unanswered about the full extent of damage to our environment, ocean waters and marine life.

But the oil spill taught us important lessons. It exposed serious gaps in federal, state and county oversight of pipelines. I authored a bill that was signed into law, Senate Bill 295, to ensure annual pipeline inspections by the State Fire Marshal for pipelines under state oversight. If and when line 901 resumes operation, we must ensure that it falls under more appropriate and tighter state regulations and inspections. I also authored legislation, SB 414, to ensure better response to oil spills by requiring the state to investigate new technologies for clean-up.

But one year later, we cannot lose sight of what was also exposed by this spill: our unsustainable dependence on oil.

As long as we rely on oil, no law, regulation, or inspection schedule will fully safeguard against the next spill. Oil is dirty, dangerous and destructive. If we drill, there will be spills. At a time when the oil industry is spending millions of dollars a year to influence policy-making, we must redouble our efforts to reducing our dependence on oil and recommit to cleaner forms of energy to power our future.”

Watch a video Jackson issued to mark the one-year anniversary of the Refugio Oil Spill.

Jackson represents the 19th Senate District, which includes all of Santa Barbara County and western Ventura County.