Formal Emergency Permit Issued to Cleanup Refugio Oil Spill

Formal Emergency Permit Issued to Cleanup Refugio Oil Spill
On July 3, 2015 and pursuant to the County’s Coastal Zoning Ordinance, the Santa Barbara
County Planning and Development Department issued a written Emergency Permit to Plains
Pipeline LP for cleanup of the Refugio Oil Spill. The process for an Emergency Permit began on
May 20, 2015 when the County gave verbal and written authorization to Plains Pipeline LP to
begin cleanup operations. An Emergency Permit is granted to expedite cleanup operations and
prevent further damage to public health and the environment more quickly than the customary
permit process would allow.
The timeline of events to secure the Emergency Permit is outlined below:
• May 20, 2015 - Planning and Development provided verbal and written authorization to
Plains Pipeline LP to begin cleanup operations.
• May 29, 2015 - Plains Pipeline LP submitted an incomplete Emergency Permit
application to Planning and Development.
• June 5, 2015 - Planning and Development notified Plains Pipeline LP of the incomplete
application and missing elements.
• June 20, 2015 - Plains Pipeline LP resubmitted a complete application.
• July 3, 2015 – After reviewing the complete application and public comment on the
proposed emergency action, Planning and Development grants an Emergency Permit
for cleanup operations.
The Emergency Permit process involves a quick assessment of proposed response and cleanup
activities to allow for the timely initiation of cleanup from the oil spill. A customary permit
follows an Emergency Permit. This customary permit fully evaluates the cleanup and restoration
work to ensure compliance with County policies, standards, and the California Environmental
Quality Act. The customary permit process, in this case a Coastal Development Permit with a
hearing (CDH), will require preparation of an environmental document under CEQA. The County
expects to coordinate the follow-on permit review with other local regulatory partners, including
the city of Goleta and the California Coastal Commission. Plains Pipeline LP submitted an
application for a CDH on June 24, 2015. This permit application is currently under review by
Planning and Development. The public will have the opportunity to participate in the review of
this application by commenting on the environmental document and providing comments to
County decision makers.
To read the permit and attachments, visit
Contact Dianne Black at or (805) 568-2086 for further information.


Lael Wageneck, Public Engagement Coordinator (805) 568-3425

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