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A pipeline in Ventura County California ruptured on Thursday morning, spilling 700 barrels of oil into the ground in the Hall Canyon area.
The oil flow has since been stopped, but not before 700 barrels of crude oil spilled from the ruptured pipeline into the Prince Barranca, a natural flow of water that leads to the beach. Initial reports were that 5,000 barrels had been spilled, but that information has since been corrected.
Firefighters from Ventura County and the City of Ventura were called to respond at around 5:30 a.m. on Thursday to prevent the oil from eventually reaching the ocean. It is unclear at this point whether any oil has reached the ocean.
The name of operator of the pipeline has not yet been made public.
Ventura County is home to hundreds of miles of oil pipelines—currently regulated by more than seven different agencies at various levels—with some pipeline oversight crisscrossing agencies depending on the issue. For any given pipeline, one regulator may oversee permitting issues, while another may oversee a spill. This means that no single agency has all the puzzle pieces when it comes to the county’s pipelines.
In April the Ventura County Grand Jury recommended that the county compile an annual report that would provide as a single-source document that would overview the current status of all Ventura County pipelines.
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The spill follows a more sizable spill about 55 miles away about a year ago, when approximately 3,800 barrels of crude leaked form a corroded coastal pipeline—some of which leaked into the ocean, killing marine life, including sea lions.
Ventura County is the third largest oil-producing county in the state of California.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.