Coast Guard Completes Review of Refugio Oil Spill Cleanup Operations

Beach cleanup crew members work to cleanup oil from the beach at Refugio State Beach, Calif., May 22, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley)

Beach cleanup crew members work to cleanup oil from the beach at Refugio State Beach, Calif., May 22, 2015. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley)

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The Federal On-Scene Coordinator’s (FOSC) report on ocean and coastal response and cleanup operations for the Refugio Beach oil spill was released Tuesday.

The 47-page report includes an overall review of response and cleanup operations, a summary of unique challenges faced by communities and oil spill responders, creative and successful cleanup and monitoring procedures, and lessons learned in the months-long response.  Known as an after-action report, the review helps the oil spill response community identify and share successful aspects of the operation and provides ideas for improvements to plans and procedures for future spills.

“Any oil spill is a tragedy, and this one is no exception,” said Capt. Jennifer Williams, Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach commander and FOSC for response.  “This report documents the outstanding response to this spill by the impacted communities and the many local, state and federal agencies as well as environmental organizations, oil spill cleanup crews, and volunteers.  Everyone involved should all be proud of the hard work, ingenuity, and tenacity that contributed to a successful cleanup.  The innovative techniques employed and lessons learned in this case will help future responses be even better.”

The report only addresses response and cleanup operations conducted under the multi-agency Unified Command established for the Refugio oil spill incident.  It is not intended to address other issues such as investigations into the cause of the pipeline leak, long term natural resource impacts, or legal matters.

The Refugio Beach oil spill occurred on May 19, 2015, when Plains Pipeline Line 901 leaked and spilled more than 100,000 gallons of oil on land, some of which subsequently reached the ocean through a culvert beneath U.S. Highway 101 near Refugio State Beach.

The FOSC report is posted on line HERE.

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