Waterkeeper Educates Communities on Oil Spill Impacts & Response

Oil flows towards the ocean from an inland spill near Refugio State Beach on May 20, 2015 (Credit: David McNew/ Getty Images)

Oil flows towards the ocean from an inland spill near Refugio State Beach on May 20, 2015 (Credit: David McNew/ Getty Images)

The May 19 spill of more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil at Refugio Beach near Santa Barbara is a sad but important reminder that we live in an area with extensive oil industry and incidents like this one can happen without a warning. The damage to our precious coastal waters and ecosystems is both heart-wrenching and extremely infuriating.

Naturally, many Southern Californians want to help in disasters like this one but few know how. And as we all learned from prior spills, responding to an oil spill is a complicated matter involving coordination between various government agencies and requires both knowledge and skills that cannot be acquired in a matter of hours or days. So how does any member of the public in Los Angeles get the training and knowledge to participate in oil spill cleanup efforts? The answer is easier than you think.

Since February of this year, LA Waterkeeper’s Port Communities Oil Spill Preparedness Project, led by our Law Fellow Jeffrey Van Name, has provided free classes and training to Los Angeles area residents about the impacts of oil spills on natural resources and community preparedness and participation in efforts to address oil spills. Once again, Waterkeeper is at the forefront of efforts to ensure our watersheds are protected and restored. We also just signed on to a letter to Governor Brown urging him not to exempt oil response activities from the California Coastal Act(view the letter). You can learn more about our oil spill training class here.

-Tatiana Gaur, Senior Attorney

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