Two Months After Massive Oil Spill, Refugio State Beach Set to Reopen

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A clean-up operation was underway May 20, 2015, at Refugio State Beach after a ruptured pipeline near Santa Barbara leaked onto the land, beach and ocean. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County will reopen to the public next week, two months after a pipeline ruptured and fouled the coast with thousands of gallons of thick black crude.

Response officials toured the beach Thursday and cleared it to reopen July 17 at noon.

“We have made great progress and we are stoked,” said Eric Hjelstrom, state parks superintendent for the Santa Barbara area. “It is really neat to see light at the end of the tunnel.”

The 10.6-mile-long pipeline runs parallel to U.S. 101 and spilled about 101,000 gallons of crude when it broke on May 19. About 21,000 gallons flowed into a storm culvert and into the Pacific Ocean, about a quarter mile from the state beach.

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