The nine-mile Santa Barbara coastline hit by an oil spill on Tuesday is even worse off than expected.
Officials now say about 105,000 gallons of crude oil have spilled into Refugio State Beach, up from five times the original predictions. It may take months before the beach is restored, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams said at a news conference.
The pipe was carrying about 2,000 barrels of oil an hour, according to Plains All American, the company who owns the pipeline.
The company says it “deeply regrets” the spill. The oil transportation company has been fined at least 10 times for oil spill violations in four other states between 2004 and 2007, according to reports. The Houston-based company has been deemed the “worst violators” by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration.
Investigators are uncertain as to what caused the devastating spill, but rescuers are working around the clock to get a handle on the environmental disaster. So far, carcasses of petroleum-soaked pelicans have been found, along with live oil-covered pelicans, sea lions, and elephant seals.
The massive oil spill comes as California is battling another major environmental problem: A historic draught has devastated farms in the state and led to unprecedented restrictions on water usage.
The state suffered another blow on Thursday after vandals deflated a rubber dam in the East Bay area of San Francisco. As a result, nearly 50 million gallons of drinking water was wasted as it flowed into the San Francisco Bay, according to NBC Bay Area. The water was enough to supply a year’s worth of water for 500 homes.
Authorities are not sure as to the motive for deflating the dam, but it raises bigger questions about California’s current water supply threat and the security of the nation’s infrastructure. Authorities have increased security at other dams in the area, NBC reported.