Governor Brown Declares State of Emergency in Santa Barbara County to Assist Oil Spill Response


SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an emergency proclamation for Santa Barbara County due to the effects of an oil spill near Refugio State Beach yesterday.

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

State oil spill, wildlife, emergency services and environmental field response personnel were dispatched yesterday and are working with local government first responders in Santa Barbara County in a unified command established by federal agencies.

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) and the California Department of Parks and Recreation are leading state efforts to clean up hazardous material along the coast and protect sensitive habitat for the California least tern and western snowy plover, two birds listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Highly trained teams from OSPR are also working closely with experts and scientists from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Oiled Wildlife Care Network to help address environmental impacts. The state is coordinating six boom boats, three 65-foot collection vessels and hand crews to assist with cleanup efforts.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation closed Refugio State Beach and El Capitán State Beach, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife closed impacted fisheries, prohibiting the take of finfish and shellfish in the area.

The full text of the emergency proclamation is below:


WHEREAS on May 19, 2015, a pipeline ruptured causing a significant release of oil and potentially other hazardous substances into the Pacific Ocean near Refugio State Beach located in Santa Barbara County; and

WHEREAS the oil spill has resulted in the closure of Refugio State Beach and fisheries for both finfish and shellfish, as well as damage to the sensitive habitat of the California least tern and the snowy plover, birds protected by the Endangered Species Act; and

WHEREAS the spill continues to threaten marine life in the area, including marine mammals, birds, and fish populations; and

WHEREAS local governments and businesses along the Santa Barbara County Coast will suffer long-term impacts from this oil spill; and

WHEREAS I have directed the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, the Department of Parks and Recreation, and other state agencies to undertake immediate and aggressive action to mitigate the effects of this oil spill; and

WHEREAS the circumstances of the oil spill, by reason of their magnitude, are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of any single local government and require the combined forces of a mutual aid region or regions to combat; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8558(b) of the California Government Code, I find that conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property exist due to the oil spill in the County of Santa Barbara; and

WHEREAS under the provisions of section 8571 of the California Government Code, I find that strict compliance with various statutes and regulations specified in this order would prevent, hinder, or delay the mitigation of the effects of the oil spill.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, in accordance with the authority vested in me by the state Constitution and statutes, including the California Emergency Services Act, and in particular, section 8625 of the California Government Code, HEREBY PROCLAIM A STATE OF EMERGENCY to exist within the County of Santa Barbara.


1. All agencies of the state government shall utilize and employ state personnel, equipment, and facilities for the performance of any and all activities consistent with the direction of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the State Emergency Plan, and the State Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

2. The Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Office of Spill Prevention and Response shall take appropriate actions to clean up and mitigate the impacts of the oil spill and to hold the responsible parties accountable for the cleanup and mitigation of the environmental and fiscal impacts of the oil spill.

3. All citizens are strongly encouraged to heed the advice of emergency officials with regard to this emergency in order to protect their safety and to minimize further impacts to the environment.

4. The California Conservation Corps, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and CaliforniaVolunteers shall, in coordination with the Office of Emergency Services and the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, mobilize trained volunteers and utilize all available resources to support the response, cleanup and mitigation.

5. In order to expedite emergency response, chapter 7 (commencing with section 30600) of division 20 of the Public Resources Code, and the conditions or requirements of any permit issued thereunder, are hereby suspended with respect to any work reasonably necessary to mitigate the effects of the emergency. The Coastal Commission shall be notified of any work performed pursuant to this waiver as specified in Public Resources Code section 30600(e)(1).

6. In order to ensure that equipment and services necessary for emergency response can be procured quickly, the provisions of the Government Code and the Public Contract Code applicable to state contracts, including, but not limited to, advertising and competitive bidding requirements, are hereby suspended. Approval by the Department of Finance is required prior to the execution of any contract entered into pursuant to this waiver.

7. The State or Regional Water Resources Control Boards shall issue any permits pursuant to Water Code section 13269 to the extent necessary to mitigate the effects of the emergency.

8. Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District Rule 326 is hereby suspended. Notwithstanding this waiver, the Office of Spill Prevention and Response and other responders are directed to make every effort to comply with this rule.

I FURTHER DIRECT that as soon as hereafter possible, this proclamation be filed in the Office of the Secretary of State and that widespread publicity and notice be given of this proclamation.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of California to be affixed this 20th day of May 2015.

Governor of California


Secretary of State