Though federal investigators have yet to pinpoint the precise cause of last month’s Santa Barbara oil spill, the basic story is becoming less and less mysterious.

The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration revealed last week that the 28-year-old pipeline, buried just inland from a coastal paradise of beaches, had been severely eaten away by rot and corrosion. Unaddressed was who let it get to that point.

Refugio State Beach lies on an immaculate stretch of shoreline. It has been at risk for as long as oil development has gone on off the mineral-rich Santa Barbara coast.

We know this; California’s environmental movement grew out of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. In fact, the pipeline that ruptured was built as an environmentally responsible alternative in crude oil transport. According to the Santa Barbara Independent, inland pipes were thought to be easier to secure than the potentially leaky oil tankers that the industry used to move cargo along the coast.

Read the full story at the Sacramento Bee >>

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