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Extending the marine sanctuary would not preclude oil leases 

San Luis Obispo

It seems to have been long forgotten that in 1925, an earthquake in southern California covered the Santa Barbara channel with thick oil patches. Again in 1971, in Santa Monica Bay, an earthquake caused similar gas and oil releases. The majority of tar found on local beaches comes from offshore seeps.

 It is estimated that more than 600 barrels of oil leaks into the Santa Barbara channel on a daily basis, but not from oil production platforms: It comes from natural seeps. Since 1969, nearly 2 million barrels of oil have entered the ocean off Santa Barbara. During this same period, oil production has spilled 842 barrels. In addition, methane gas in large quantities leaks and enters our atmosphere, reducing air quality.

These seeps extend all the way north to Big Sur. These are the facts. Reading your article, “Drill, spill, or chill, baby” (May 27) one would conclude that creating more bureaucracy would end oil from spilling into our precious ocean. Not true. An extended Marine Sanctuary would not stop leasing or development. Local citizens and our county government explored this during the 1990s.

 In contrast, in my opinion, poor sewage disposal practices, non-point pollution—like animal waste and chemical fertilizers—are causing far more damage to the near-shore marine environment. Detergents enter the ocean and may be causing many times the damage to marine life. But controlling their disposal required public awareness. Unfortunately, the awareness of one’s personal behavior is not there. To a great degree, the public remains ignorant of contributions to the problem.

 A large oil spill, caused by an accident is a convenient target. It’s awful. But, day-to-day damage caused by non-point sources is less obvious and far easier to ignore.

-- Steven L. Rebuck - San Luis Obispo

-- Steven L. Rebuck - San Luis Obispo

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