Santa Barbara Channel

Lisa Osborn, KCBX News

Fishermen in Santa Barbara Harbor are still starting their motors to head out into the channel for the day's catch, despite being among the first to feel the economic punch of the Plains All-American Pipeline rupture back on May 19.

Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Crews on Tuesday were in the process of digging up the pipeline that failed exactly one week earlier, spilling an estimated 100,000 gallons of crude oil on nearby land and into the Santa Barbara Channel.

Plains All-American Pipeline Company said just about all of the oily soil surrounding the pipeline had been removed from the area as of Tuesday evening.

The affected section of pipe, once removed, will be sent to a third-party inspector to determine what could have caused the rupture.

Paul Relis was a student at UC Santa Barbara during the massive 1969 oil spill in the Santa Barbara Channel, and had a front-row seat to much of the public reaction that followed.

Relis went on to lead the Community Environmental Council, was an executive with the state EPA, and lectured for nearly two decades on Environmental Studies at his alma mater, UCSB.

You can hear Relis read from his recently published book, Out of the Wasteland, Thursday night, May 14 at Chaucer’s Bookstore in Santa Barbara starting at 7:00 p.m.

Flickr member Ken Lund

An environmental group took the first step toward suing the federal government on Thursday, over fracking in the Santa Barbara Channel.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Interior Department for violating federal law in regards to offshore fracking approvals.

The group says the government did not evaluate how the enhanced oil extraction practice may pollute local waters, nor its effects on marine wildlife prior to issuing the approvals to oil companies. 

Flickr member Anita Ritenour

A pilot program in underway in the Santa Barbara Channel aimed at reducing air pollution and saving migrating whales. The plan calls for large container ships passing through the area to significantly slow down. 

Only a small fraction of the annual shipping traffic through the channel—some 2,500 ships—will be affected by this program initially, but organizers are hoping it will still make a measurable difference.

Flickr member Mike Baird

The Mission and State article The Student who took on Venoco raises questions about the notion of unauthorized acid use and disposal in oil extraction.

We interviewed the article's author, Natalie Cherot about the story and where the legal issues stand now.