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Corroded pipeline, insufficient repairs to blame for California oil spill

It is a truth universally acknowledged that pipelines will inevitably leak. However, it is something quite different when a pipeline is left to corrode and an oil spill is the result.

Investigators have discovered that the oil pipeline which spilled roughly 2,409 barrels of oil into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Santa Barbara was heavily deteriorated, The Guardian reports. Federal regulators released preliminary findings this week that indicated the pipeline had reached a mere 1/16 of an inch in thickness before it finally ruptured and began to leak.

The U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) indicated that over 80 percent of the pipeline’s wall had been eaten away by corrosion. The PHMSA also reported that corrosion was a sizeable problem in the expanse of pipeline where the rupture took place. Three other repairs had been completed since 2012.

Many in California are likely wondering why the pipeline’s operator, Plains All American Pipeline, failed to take the appropriate preventative action, given the known poor state of the infrastructure. The state’s leadership has also stated that the company’s response to the spill has been insufficient.

In related news, Things to know about the California oil spill.