A dozen or so activists protested outside of Bell Arts Center in Ventura on Thursday, Aug. 4, when state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, convened a hearing on the June 23 Crimson Pipeline oil spill that sent 45,000 gallons of crude oil into Prince Barranca and Hall Canyon near Ventura High School.

Jackson chairs the Senate Select Committee on the Refugio Oil Spill and Williams is the chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee.

A panel featuring Assistant state Fire Marshal Mike Richwine, state Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response Administrator Thomas Cullen and Ventura Fire Chief David Endaya answered questions and shared information regarding the spill, followed by a prepared statement by President of Crimson Pipeline Larry Alexander.

When asked for a timeline of the investigation, Alexander deferred to OSPR’s Cullen, who said that it could take up to four months and should be completed by Jan. 1, 2017.

Jackson and Williams critiqued the lack of public notification when the pipeline was reactivated and noted that better communication requirements are needed in the event of future spills. The general takeaway from members of the public who were given an opportunity to ask questions was frustration and confusion, as details of the cause and total impact of the spill were not provided by members of the panel or by Crimson Pipeline due to the ongoing investigation.