On May 19, 2015, an oil pipeline ruptured releasing up to 105,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean near the pristine Refugio State Beach located in Santa Barbara County. The oil spill area stretches over 9 miles of the California coastline. Refugio State Beach and fisheries for both fish and shellfish are closed.
Since oil began leaking from a rig in the Gulf of Mexico last April, concerns regarding the safety of the region’s seafood abounded. Now, more than two months after the leak was sealed, public officials, federal scientists and even President Obama have all been saying that seafood from the Gulf region is safe to eat. So why aren’t consumers digging in? Several local leaders from the region impacted by the oil spill addressed this topic last week during the most recent hearing of the National Commission on the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling in Washington, D.C.
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by ESA’s Science Policy Analyst, Terence Houston.