Discipline: Ecology, Environmental & Earth Sciences
Subcategory: STEM Research
Bernard Singleton - Dillard University
Co-Author(s): Robert Collins, Dillard University, Christian Thomas, Theodore Johnson, and Darrell Esnault, Dillard University, New Orleans, Louisiana
May 19, 2015, a corroded section of an oil pipeline ruptured near coast of the Refugio, California (CA).~ 105,000 gallons of crude oil was reported spilled; 21,000 spilled into the Pacific Ocean. A nine mile oil slick was created and nearby beaches were contaminated. The ocean current and wave movement caused the oil to move south along the California coastline. The purpose of this study is to make a comparative assessment of the SB Oil Spill vs. BP Oil Spill while the response was taking place. Both oil spills claimed marine animal lives. There is a concern as to the amount of damage these spills are causing to the ecosystem and if other pipeline ruptures will occur. There are more than 7,000 miles of oil pipelines. The Texas Co., Plains All American Pipeline has been cited and fined in the past for poor maintenance of these pipelines. The state inspectors responsible for regulating the pipelines rely on the documents from the companies. There were questions of the use of chemical dispersants, toxic chemical additives in the pipeline oil, tougher rules, and better prevention technology. Also, there is a concern about how the affected communities recover from these disasters. Data was collected as follows: The DU-Team analyzed samples for toxicity from SB affected sites. Statements were collected from Plains All American, Contractors, First Responders, and the US Coast Guard. California public documents were reviewed. Similar data were compared from the 2010 BP Oil Spill. GIS Mapping and the tracking of the movement of the oil were done in CA. The fingerprint analysis records were accessed to differentiate the oil from the pipeline vs. the oil from natural seeps in SB. There were comparisons of oil spill responses, contingency plans, and policies. Five years after the BP Spill, many questions remain concerning whether or not any lessons were learned from a disaster planning standpoint. In CA the footprint shrunk from 70 miles of coastline to less than 1 mile in 88 days. Plains Co responded to spill in an efficient manner. The immediate overwhelming force was successful in CA. Evidence shows that the events were caused by lack of inspection by the Companies, or lack of enforcement by authorities. Booms are still being used which does little to stop oil from rolling in on the beach. Health agencies were not included in the response teams. The response for deep water in LA vs. CA superficial. Future-New policies and continue monitoring the conditions.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Claudia Rankins, National Science Foundation, HR
Faculty Advisor: None Listed,