We started filming at Refugio State Park the afternoon that Plains All-American Pipeline, line 901, burst on May 19, 2015 spilling 140,000 gallons of crude oil onto the Gaviota coast and into the ocean. Crude oil tumbled in the surf, sent toxic fumes in the air, and killed sea life as the Coast Guard struggled to respond.
It's a one-hour environmental story with a peek back at the Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 that helped launch the environmental movement, EPA, and clean air and water laws, and a look forward to a fossil free future.
The film highlights the reaction of citizens who came together in protest marches and healing ceremonies, rescued birds and marine mammals, cleaned the oil off our beaches, and demanded more stringent spill prevention and response. The community's actions stand in stark contrast to the insensitivity of the oil industry and particularly Plains All-American Pipeline, Ltd.
Gail Osherenko is an independent documentary film maker. Long-time environmental activist; BA Principia College, 1969; Juris Doctor, University of California, Davis Law School, 1975. Past jobs include legislative assistant in California State Senate and US House of Representatives, appellate attorney for Department of Justice, lecturer in environmental law and policy, University of California Santa Barbara and Dartmouth College.
Other films she has made are:
Gail Osherenko - Director, Producer, Writer, Cinematographer, Narrator
Margarita Del Valle - Consulting Director/Producer, Cinematographer, Editor, Writer
Sandra Falkowski - Editor
Debra Piot - Associate Producer, Cinematographer
Ejé Lynn-Jacobs - Sound Engineer
THEME SONG: Whatcha Gonna Do When the Oil Spills?
Robin Krop - Songwriter
Linda Young - Vocalist
Ron Sweet - Sound Engineer, guitar and vocal accompaniment
Andy Christiansen - Webmaster
Gabe Tempesta - Logo Designer
Vienna Saccomanno - Social Media Advisor
THANKS AND APPRECIATION
Additional video footage/cinematography/photography courtesy of: Bud Bottoms, Erin Feinblatt, Maxwell Frank, Michael Love, News Archive Video of KEYT-TV, Rick Ray, Bruce Reitherman, Paul Wellman, John Williams, and John L. Wiley
Advice, critique and moral support: Angela Antenore, Ben Bycel, Shannon Dybvig, Dimitri Falk, Florence Falk, Tonia Gray Guerrero, Rod Lathim, Anne Moore, Beth Pitton-August, Renner Wunderlich, Oran Young
Yvonne Addassi, Deputy Administrator, CA Department of Fish & Wildlife
Heather Armentrout, Animal Care Specialist, Oiled Wildlife Care Network
Owen Bailey, Executive Director, Environmental Defense Center, Santa Barbara
Margaret Connell, former Mayor of Goleta, CA
Chris Corbo, Deputy Incident Commander, CA Dept. Fish & Wildlife
Salud Carbajal, Congressman from California Central Coast (former County Supervisor)
Jaime Diamond, Stardust Sportfishing
Lauren DuBois, Liaison, SeaWorld San Diego
Becky Elias, Volunteer Coordinator, Oiled Wildlife Care Network
Steve Ferry, former Co-President, Santa Barbara Audubon
Christina Fiorello, Veterinarian, Oiled Wildlife Care Network, University of California, Davis
Carla Frisk, Board Member, Get Oil Out
Walter Fuller, Steward of Ormond Beach, Oxnard, CA
Hanna-Beth Jackson, California State Senator, Santa Barbara and Ventura
Cynthia Hartley, Western Snowy Plover Beach Monitor, Ormond Beach
Wes Herman, Retired Fire Captain and Petroleum Engineer, County of Santa Barbara
Patrick Hodgins, Senior Safety Director, Plains All-American Pipeline Co.
Eric Kjellstrom, California Fish & Wildlife
John Kovach, Volunteer Snowy Plover Docent, Coal Oil Point Reserve
Linda Krop, Chief Counsel, Environmental Defense Center, Santa Barbara
Richard Kuprewicz, President, Accufacts, Inc., pipeline safety expert
Eric Laughlin, Public Information Officer, California Department of Fish & Wildlife
Kathryn Lehr, Planner, Santa Barbara County Energy Division
Harry Liquornik, urchin fisherman
Craig and Cindy Makela, olive ranchers, Gaviota Coast
Phil McKenna, President, Gaviota Coast Conservancy
Riki Ott, PhD marine toxicology, Author "Not One Drop" and "Sound Truth & Corporate Myth$"
Chris Peltonen, Project Manager, VENOCO
Matt Renner, Executive Director, World Business Academy
Helene Schneider, Mayor of Santa Barbara
Michael Smith, Executive Director, Gray Whales Count
Tom Steyer, Founder & President, NextGen America
Cherie Topper, Executive Director, Santa Barbara Audubon
Chris Voss, President, Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara
Carl Weimer, Executive Director, National Pipeline Safety Trust
Das Williams, Santa Barbara County Supervisor (former California Assembly Member)
Oran Young, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara
Michael Ziccardi, Director, Oiled Wildlife Care Network, University of California, Davis
In September 2018, a jury found Plains criminally responsible for the spill, and in May 2018, Plains settled a class action civil suit for $230 million to be paid to fishers, fish processors and property owners. And in 2019, a settlement with state and federal agencies called for payments of $60 million for damages to natural resources, penalties, and clean up costs.
Plains All American Pipeline filed an application in 2019 to replace pipelines 901 and 903 with smaller diameter, uninsulated steel pipelines. The County of Santa Barbara has not completed environmental impact reports for this application as they are waiting for additional information they requested from Plains. Meanwhile, Plains reported selling the pipeline to Exxon and have approval of a permit from the Santa Barbara Planning Department Director to transfer ownership to Exxon; however, the regional Environmental Defense Center together with Get Oil Out! (GOO!) and Santa Barbara Community Action Network (SBCAN) appealed the March 2023 decision.
Additionally, the County Planning Commission has been asked to approve Plains adding safety valves to the existing but unused and corroded pipelines to meet requirements of a California state law enacted in the aftermath of the 2015 spill. A hearing on that application is expected on April 26, 2023 before the County Planning Commission. The legal deadline for installing safety valves is April 1, 2023, so Plains has requested an extension on the deadline.
Anonymous, Angela Antenore, Dennis Allen, Katy Allen, Owen Bailey, Susan Becker, James Bell and Rita Bright, Alli Benson in recognition of Michael Smith, Tabitha Benney, Julie Hambrook Berkman, Melissa Bower, Janet Blevins, Katya Bloom, Margaret Connell, Janette Cross, Lilyan Cutler, Mimi deGruy, Diyana Dobberteen, Shannon Dybvig, Joy Dryden, Florence Falk, K., D. and J. Falk, Steve Ferry, Cate Garvey, Liz Gaspar, Leland Gohl, Clive Gray, Tonia Gray Guerrero, Dan Guttman & Zhenxi Zhong in loving memory of Luna, Michael Hanrahan, Roger Himovitz, Gary & Helena Hill, Sara Hughes, Richard Hunt, Donanne Hunter, Cynthia O'brien & Mike Fitzpatrick, Jean Kaplan, Leslie King, Karen Kraus, Linda Krop in honor of Owen Bailey, Nancy G. Krop & J. Mike Hedblom, Wes Herman, Amardeep Kaur, Robin Krop, Allan McCarthy, Marc McGinnes, Doug Miller, Annie Moore, Anthony & Ravae Moran, Alex & Ken Palley, Pipeline Safety Trust, Beth Pitton-August, Linda Phillips, Chris & Leslie Rimmer, Jane & Larry Rosen, Sarah C. Semegen, Lynn Lincoln Sarko, Wendy Shelton, Susan Shields, Liam & Sierra Spiteri, Jack & Judy Stapelmann, Eric Swenumson, Gabriel Tempesta Art and Illustration, Phil Thorne, Gail Ward, Mike and Cean Weber, Pam & Bob Wilkinson, Ann Wiltzius, Steve Windhager & Pamme Mickelson, Lynda Weinman, Durwood Zaelke
Do you have questions or comments about our film? Do you have a theater where we could arrange a screening? Send us a message, and we will get back to you soon.