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California Governor Jerry Brown has issued an emergency proclamation for Santa Barbara County in response to a May 19 pipeline rupture that released up to 105,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean.

What’s the Problem?

Brown’s move to declare the Santa Barbara Coast a state of emergency frees up state funding and resources to help expedite the cleanup effort.

“This emergency proclamation cuts red tape and helps the state quickly mobilize all available resources,” Brown said. “We will do everything necessary to protect California’s coastline.”

The rupture caused at least 105,000 gallons of oil to spill from an onshore pipeline, approximately 21,000 gallons of which reached the sea; at least 9 miles of beaches along the coastline have been coated in black tar as a result. The cause of the rupture is being investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Crews Say 44% of Coastline Cleaned

As of June 7, approximately 44% of nearly 100 miles of California coastline has been cleaned from the effects of the Refugio Oil Spill, according to ABC News. The 44% includes mostly sandy beaches, which now have less than 1% of oil, said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) spokeswoman Alexia Retallack.

The cleanup effort spans from northern Santa Barbara into Ventura County, and what’s left is more intensive and includes cobbled beaches. It’s still unclear as to when the process will be completed, and Retallack said that some already cleared shoreline is being monitored to ensure it doesn’t become coated in oil again.

Beaches Remain Closed

More than 1,000 workers from local, state and federal agencies are involved in the cleanup effort. The oil spill has killed at least 1 sea lion, 9 pelicans and countless fish. El Refugio and El Capitan beaches will likely remain closed throughout most of June.

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