Photo via Amazon Watch

Are you surprised? I’m not surprised. Yes, look at me being smug and flippant about our most recent environmental screwup. You can throw whatever scathing liberal epithets my way you like, it won’t change the fact that oil pipelines leak, or that I am – abominably – stating the obvious.

The oil spill in (Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department)

The oil spill in Prince Barranca, Hall Canyon, Ventura County, CA. (Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department)

This morning, at about 5:30 AM, an oil pipeline in Ventura County started leaking. It continued to leak until it had released about 700 barrels, or up to 29,400 gallons, of crude. You can read the news reports yourself, but the big story here is that the valve got shut off before the half-mile river of black sludge could reach the ocean.

Thank heavens! I hate to report bad news.

The goo flowed down Ventura’s Prince Barranca, a grassy canyon that leads to the San Buenaventura state beach near the Ventura pier. See, we avoided disaster because the 10-inch pipeline wasn’t flowing at full pressure, and Crimson Pipeline, the owners of the pipe, managed to turn it off relatively quickly.

“The line didn’t break,” Crimson spokesperson Kendall Klingler told the press earlier today. “It had been closed for maintenance, and [the company] has only released 2,000 barrels into it.”

Only 2,000 barrels, folks, so quit your bitching and get back to work. That’s what Ventura’s firefighters are doing.

“Because we were prepared and trained for such incidents as this, we were able to do a damming and diking operation, with our agencies working together, and stopping the flow of oil from even making it through the city, much less down to the ocean,” said Ventura City Fire Chief David Endeya.

Rock on, Chief.

Ventura County Fire Department

Oil in Prince Barranca, Ventura County. (Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department)

Crimson isn’t quite sure why the valve started leaking this morning, which is somewhat troubling, since the valve underwent maintenance on Wednesday. But look, the important thing is that the oil didn’t reach the ocean. Can’t you be satisfied with that?

I mean, there is some concern that the Los Angeles heat will exacerbate the vapors coming off the crude. The Ventura County Environmental Health service has said that crews are already vacuuming it up, and that the odor may cause some irritation. The vapors have no ill effects, though, according to Dr. Robert Levin of the county Public Health. However, he has cautioned nearby residents to shut their windows if they smell oil. You know, just to be ultra super duper sure.

It’s not like fossil fuel vapors have endangered the health of the good people of Porter Ranch. Or have they? (he said, citing a 3,000-word article that details all the fucks LA has not given to said good people of said Ranch).

Tending to the Ventura spill. (Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department)

Tending to the Ventura spill. (Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department)

So, how to conclude this opinionated editorial about the new lake of stinky pitch on Hall Canyon Road? Shall I say that the pipeline delivers crude to the Los Angeles Basin, and ExxonMobil’s Torrance refinery (the very same Exxon that has built a decades-long misinformation campaign about man-made global warming that has landed them in significant legal limbo)? Shall I share with you the LA Times latest findings, that Crimson has spilled roughly 7,453 barrels of hazardous waste since 2006, resulting in more than $5.8 million in property damage? Shall I wrap it up by referring back to last year’s San Refugio oil spill, in which 143,000 gallons of crude oil flooded Santa Barbara’s coastline? Maybe, since Plains All American Pipeline was recently indicted on 46 criminal counts and faces fines of nearly $3 million.

Oil on the beach at Refugio State Park in Santa Barbara, California, on May 19, 2015. (Image Credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

Oil on the beach at Refugio State Park in Santa Barbara, California, on May 19, 2015. (Image Credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

But no, I will not do these things. Rather, I’m going to save you the trouble of looking up “oil spill” in Planet Experts’ search box and losing any respect for whatever pipelines aren’t leaking this week. I’m going to tell you why oil, and other fossil fuels, is bad for you.

You see, even if you’re not a pinko anti-gun pro-LGBT granola-munching GMO-free hack in the vegan lobby’s pocket like me, you may have the brain cells necessary to realize that the convenience of fossil fuels isn’t worth the long-term damage they do to our planet. You may see that oil and the chemicals they use to clean it up is still causing fetal aberrations in dolphins years after the Deepwater Horizon spill; or hear that people living near fracking sites don’t feel that great most of the time; or know that massive leakages of methane are messing up our atmosphere, man.

The Executive Director of the Sierra Club, Michael Brune, has this quote he likes to trot out whenever something like today’s oil spill happens. “[I]t’s not a question if a pipeline will malfunction,” he says, “but rather a question of when.”

And he’s right. You know what happens when a solar panel leaks? A plant photosynthesizes. You know what happens when some wind gets away from a windmill? It exposes a pair of pretty ankles.

Look, if I were receiving billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies, I’d happily tell you oil tastes like chocolate syrup, but BP just won’t return my phone calls. I’ve gotta shuck and jive for the sad, salty truth, folks, cause the only peanuts I get paid are from this rinky-dink website we got here.

Oil pipelines, oil trains, oil wells, they all leak. And they will continue to leak. Don’t believe me? Check this shit out:

Photo via Amazon Watch

Photo via Amazon Watch

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