Tar balls traced to spill

Two stud­ies say oil that washed ashore in L. A., Ven­tura ar­eas was from pipe burst.

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Javier Pan­zar javier. pan­zar@ latimes. com Twit­ter: @ jpan­zar

Crude oil from a pipeline rup­ture in Santa Bar­bara County last month f loated down the coast to beaches in Ven­tura and Los An­ge­les coun­ties, ac­cord­ing to sep­a­rate lab re­sults re­leased Mon­day by state of­fi­cials and the Texas pipeline com­pany.

One sam­ple of tar balls found in Man­hat­tan Beach matched crude oil re­leased into the ocean when the pipe burst May 19, ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Fish and Wildlife’s Of­fice of Spill Preven­tion and Re­sponse.

As much as 21,000 gal­lons of oil spilled into the ocean.

A sep­a­rate anal­y­sis of six tar ball sam­ples found that two — from beaches in Ven­tura and Los An­ge­les coun­ties — had oil from the bro­ken Line 901.

That anal­y­sis was con­ducted by sci­en­tists from Woods Hole Oceano­graphic In­sti­tu­tion in Mas­sachusetts and UC Santa Bar­bara, Plains All Amer­i­can Pipeline of­fi­cials said.

Plains of­fi­cials have not said where ex­actly the two sam­ples were taken, and calls to Plains, Woods Hole and UCSB were not im­me­di­ately re­turned.

Ac­cord­ing to the Fish and Wildlife Depart­ment, low lev­els of tar balls “are typ­i­cally present on South­ern Cal­i­for­nia beaches from nat­u­ral sources, most com­monly from off­shore seep­age from f is­sures in the seabed.”

But the higher num­ber of tar balls that ap­peared on beaches af­ter the oil spill led of­fi­cials to won­der whether they were con­nected to the May rup­ture.

“This news un­der­scores how dan­ger­ous oil spills are to our pre­cious coast­line,” Rep. Ted Lieu ( D- Tor­rance) said Mon­day. “That’s why I am firmly against coast­line drilling, whether it’s in Her­mosa Beach or in the Arc­tic.”

Kris­ten Mon­sell, an at­tor­ney with the Cen­ter for Bi­o­log­i­cal Di­ver­sity, said “this f ind­ing shows how un­pre­dictable and wide­spread oil spill dam­age can be. We’ve got to pre­vent these in­cred­i­bly harm­ful spills by mov­ing away from oil drilling in our beau­ti­ful coastal ar­eas.”

Pho­tog r aphs by Christina House For The Times

SIGNS warn peo­ple not to swim in Man­hat­tan Beach af­ter the ap­pear­ance of tar- like sub­stance along the shore­line. As much as 21,000 gal­lons of oil were spilled when a pipe burst in Santa Bar­bara County on May 19.

TAR BALLS found on Man­hat­tan Beach matched oil from the May pipeline rup­ture, two stud­ies say.

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