A broken on shore 24-inch pipeline spewed oil down a storm drain and into the ocean for several hours along a stretch of California coastline, Tuesday, before it was shut off. About 21,000 gallons of oil spill in Ocean was the initial estimated. The slick stretched four miles and 50 yards into the water. Boats from the nonprofit collective Clean Seas also were providing help.
About 850 gallons of oil have been recovered from the water in the first hours. "Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact," the company said in a statement. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed fishing and shellfish harvesting for a mile east and west of the beach. It was unclear how long the cleanup would take. Refugio beach and other areas possibly will closed during the next weekend, for Memorial Day. The accident Tuesday happened on the same stretch of coastline as a 1969 spill, which was the largest ever in U.S. waters at the time. Members of the International Bird Rescue organization were on the scene to clean any birds that become covered with oil.