Refugio Oil Spill

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On May 19, 2015, Line 901, a pipeline owned and operated by Plains All American Pipeline, ruptured near Refugio State Beach. Over 140,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled, much of which ran down a storm drain and into a ravine under Highway 101, entering the ocean. Hundreds of birds, marine mammals, and marine invertebrates were found dead or oiled, fisheries, beaches and public parks were closed, and sensitive coastal habitats were impacted.

The official response to the spill concluded on May 19, 2017. Channelkeeper successfully advocated for the adoption of several regulations to improve oil spill prevention and provide increased oversight over pipelines and oil operations, and we remain involved in efforts to improve local and regional oil spill contingency plans and ensure better flow of information to the public.

The Natural Resource Damage Assessment for the Refugio Oil Spill is expected to be released in early 2019. This document will outline the environmental, economic, and recreational impacts from the spill, how that damage can be restored, and how much Plains All American will be required to pay in compensation (in addition to damages allocated from civil and criminal lawsuits). The public is encouraged to provide restoration project ideas and to comment on the Restoration Plan and Programmatic Environmental Assessment. This website will be updated with specific deadlines and resources for public comment once the draft documents are released. For more detailed information on the NRDA process and how it relates to the Refugio Oil Spill, visit the Environmental Defense Center’s NRDA Guide.