LOS ANGELES, June 22 (Reuters) – At least some of the tar
balls found littering one of southern California’s most popular
beaches last month were matched by lab tests to crude oil that
spilled from a ruptured pipeline along the Santa Barbara coast
about 100 miles away, state and pipeline company officials said
Sticky, black oil globs began washing up along more than 6
miles of Manhattan Beach, just southwest of Los Angeles on May
27, prompting health officials to briefly close a stretch of
shoreline in the area.
By Steve Gorman
(Reuters) – Wood rot from exposure to excess moisture likely weakened the horizontal beams supporting an apartment balcony that collapsed in Berkeley, California, killing six people, several independent experts said a day after the tragedy.
But the consensus among structural engineers interviewed by Reuters on Thursday was that the balcony should otherwise have been sturdy enough, under normal circumstances, to safely bear the weight of the 13 people who were on the deck at the time.
By Steve Gorman
(Reuters) – Two teenagers enjoying a day at the beach were badly mauled in separate shark attacks less than two hours apart on Sunday in coastal waters off Oak Island, North Carolina, casting a pall over the start of that tiny resort town’s summer tourist season.
A girl about 14 years old was attacked shortly after 4 p.m. local time, suffering grave wounds to her left arm and leg before a man swimming nearby heard her screams and came to her aid, Mayor Betty Wallace told Reuters.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The federal government on Wednesday ordered a company at the center of a Southern California oil spill to continue its efforts to clean up the pipeline breach that dumped crude onto a pristine stretch of shoreline and into the Pacific Ocean.
The order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Coast Guard also requires Texas-based Plains All American Pipeline to submit a written plan by June 6 that will outline measures for analyzing the spill’s effects on the environment.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Environmentalists urged California regulators on Wednesday to reject a proposed expansion of the only offshore drilling operation still permitted in state waters along the Santa Barbara coastline, seizing on public outrage over last week’s nearby oil spill.
Privately owned Venoco Inc is seeking permission to drill on 3,400 acres (1,400 hectares) of the sea floor within a state-designated coastal sanctuary adjacent to the company’s current offshore lease site. It said the plan would increase petroleum production by 6,400 barrels a day.
LOS ANGELES, May 26 (Reuters) – More than two dozen marine
mammals and nearly 40 birds, most of them pelicans, have been
collected dead and alive from along California’s oil-fouled
coastline near Santa Barbara in the week since a petroleum
pipeline ruptured there, wildlife officials said on Tuesday.
Of 38 oil-coated birds documented so far, 13 turned up dead
and 25 were picked up alive, though two of the rescued birds
have since died, said Dr. Michael Ziccardi, a veterinarian from
the University of California, Davis, who heads the Oiled
Wildlife Care Network.
LOS ANGELES, May 26 (Reuters) – A second sea lion rescued
from along California’s oil-fouled coastline near Santa Barbara
has died at SeaWorld San Diego, where veterinarians are still
caring for 15 surviving marine mammals brought in for treatment,
a spokesman said on Tuesday.
The petroleum-stained pinnipeds are among the earliest
apparent wildlife casualties documented from a pipeline rupture
that dumped as much as 2,400 barrels (101,000 gallons or 382,327
liters) of crude oil onto the shoreline and into the ocean west
of Santa Barbara one week ago.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The carcasses of five petroleum-soaked pelicans have been recovered from California’s Santa Barbara coastline, the first apparent sea bird fatalities stemming from the oil spill to be documented by officials overseeing the disaster response.
The tally was reported Friday by the joint-agency command for cleanup and recovery operations in Santa Barbara and Dr. Michael Ziccardi, a veterinarian from the University of California, Davis, who heads the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.
LOS ANGELES, May 22 (Reuters) – Owners of an oil pipeline
that burst in California this week must take numerous corrective
measures, including an in-depth analysis of factors contributing
to the spill and a plan to fix any flaws found, before they can
restart the line, U.S. safety officials said on Friday.
The corrective action order issued on Thursday by the U.S.
Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
Administration, or PHMSA, is not regarded as a disciplinary
enforcement sanction against the company, Plains All American
Pipeline LP, officials said.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Union dockworkers at all 29 U.S.
West Coast ports have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a contract
agreement reached in February with shipping companies and
terminal operators to end months of labor strife that snarled
Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union
voted 82 percent in favor of the new five-year labor pact, which
runs through June 2019, the union said in announcing the final
tally of balloting that took place during the past month.