A dozen or so activists protested outside of Bell Arts Center in Ventura on Thursday, Aug. 4, where Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, and Assemblyman Das Wililams, D-Carpinteria, convened a hearing on the June 23 Crimson Pipeline oil spill that sent 45,000 gallons of crude oil into Prince Baranca and Hall Canyon near Ventura High.
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 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.
Though no details were released regarding the investigation into the reason for the pipeline’s failure, Sen. Jackson asked pointed questions regarding a valve replacement that took place the day before the spill, and speculation seems to revolve around its failure.
When asked for a timeline of the investigation, Crimson Pipeline President Larry Alexander referred to OSPR’s Thomas Cullen, who said that it could take up to four months and should be completed by January 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, but the general takeaway from members of the public who were given an opportunity to ask questions following the presentations was that of frustration and confusion, as details into the cause and total impact of the spill were not provided by any member of the panel or from Crimson Pipeline due to the ongoing investigation.