The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is allowing fishing to resume in waters that were closed after last month’s oil spill of the Santa Barbara coast.

What’s the Problem?

June 30, 2015 – CDFW officials reopened the 138 square mile section of the Pacific Ocean yesterday, after scientists determined that fish caught in the area pose no threat to human health.

The May 19 oil spill occurred just north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County. Up to 101,000 gallons of crude oil (2,400 barrels) leaked from a pipeline operated by Texas-based Plains All American. The spill poured into a gully and then flowed through a highway drainage culvert, with about 21,000 gallons reaching the ocean.

Fish and Wildlife scientists worked with the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to determine fishing is safe again. Scientists say they tested a wide range of fish and other marine life before reaching the decision.

The cost of cleaning up the mess is approaching $100 million, or about $3 million per day. However, this figure only accounts for cleanup costs to date; it does not include financial damage lawsuits from individuals and businesses affected by the spill, according to a Plains spokesperson.

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