Pipeline That Leaked Wasn't Equipped With Auto Shut-off

A county official said that the pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of oil on the California coast was the only pipe of its kind in the county not required to have an automatic shut-off valve because of a court fight nearly three decades ago. Kevin Drude, deputy director of the county's Energy and Minerals Division said that the original owner of the pipeline skirted the Santa Barbara County requirement by successfully arguing in court in the late 1980s that it should be subject to federal oversight because the pipeline is part of an interstate network. Federal regulators are investigating the cause of Tuesday's leak that spilled up to 105,000 gallons of crude oil from an underground pipe into a culvert and as much as 21,000 gallons into the ocean at Refugio State Beach. The spill killed untold numbers of fish, a few pelicans and mired other birds, sea lions and at least one elephant seal in the muck.