The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is pleased to host The Spill’s Broad Reach Panel Discussion, designed to address some of the issues arising from the 1969 Santa Barbara Channel oil blowout that sparked a larger national discussion and environmental movement. Panelists will include members of local environmental organizations and the oil industry.

The spill’s broad reach

As Keith C. Clark and Jeffrey J. Hemphill of UC Santa Barbara’s Geography Department wrote in The Santa Barbara Oil Spill: A Retrospective, “Now, after 33 years, and as memories fade, the impacts of the post-spill consequences for environmental policy outweigh historically the physical impacts of the spill itself. Yet the oil industry and coastal environments remain in a state of uneasy coexistence.”

Topics and issues for the panel discussion include, but are not limited to: local preparedness, the extent of scientific research published and how well we understand the risks and effects ocean drilling has on the environment, alternative, renewable energy sources, regulation compliance, and common ground environmentalists and the oil industry can find as we move forward.

After the Santa Barbara disaster, activism quickly spread across the country and spawned landmark legislation, the first Earth Day, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air and Water Act, and the environmental Studies major at UCSB.

The Santa Barbara Maritime Museum will also tell this story in the new permanent exhibit, The Spill’s Broad Reach. Featuring selections from Paul Lynch’s documentary short Birth of a Movement, relating to the 1969 oil spill and resulting activism, the exhibit captures Santa Barbara’s unique role in shaping modern environmental movements.


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