By Serge Dedina
OC Voice Columnist
On Jan. 29, 1969, a Union Oil platform located 6 miles off of the coast of Santa Barbara experienced a major blowout. Over 3.6 million gallons of crude oil leaked into the ocean over an 11-day period resulting in an 800-square mile oil slick and devastating more than 35 miles of coastline from Rincon to Goleta. The disaster, one of the worst in U.S. history, resulted in the deaths of thousands of sea birds and marine mammals.
The Santa Barbara oil spill was so devastating and its impact so far and wide along what is considered one of the world’s most beautiful and economically valuable coastlines, that President Richard Nixon declared that, “The Santa Barbara incident has, frankly, touched the conscience of the American people.”
The public response to the disaster was immediate and overwhelming. Thousands of volunteers, surfers, society matrons, students and people from every walk of life helped clean up oil-slickened beaches and rescue injured sea birds and marine mammals. (more…)