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Firefighters Stop Nearly 30,000 Gallons Of Oil From Reaching Ocean In Ventura

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Ventura County Firefights have prevented about 700 barrels of crude oil from spilling into the ocean after a pipeline suffered a leak Thursday morning, reports the L.A. Times.

Initially, it was estimated that 5,000 barrels of oil had spilled from the leak. The figure was later adjusted to 700, which equates with about 29,400 gallons, according to the Times.

The leak was first reported at around 5:30 a.m. in Hall Canyon, about a mile inland from San Buenaventura State Beach, according to KTLA. Within three hours the oil had flowed a half-mile down the Prince Barranca Valley. Firefighters were concerned that the spill would reach San Jon Road, which would have directed the oil into the 101 Freeway and, beyond that, the waters at Pierpoint Bay. There were also fears that the oil would reach a second pipeline that would have redirected it straight into the ocean.

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Those concerns have been put to rest, as firefighters say that the leak has been stemmed. "The pump has been shut down. There's no way it can get to the ocean," Ventura County firefighter Marisol Rodriguez told the Times. She added that the department was "in cleanup mode" now.

No evacuation alerts have been enacted. Both firefighters and hazmat crews are on the scene. According to KTLA, the Fire Department, the Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and the Coast Guard are all responding to the situation.

According to the Times, the oil belongs to Aera Energy, which has about 1,000 miles of pipeline in the Southland area and Northern California. Aera's website states that the company is responsible for nearly 25 percent of California's oil production. While the company is operated independently, it is also jointly owned by Shell and ExxonMobil.

Ventura County is not a complete stranger with oil spills. Last year, a ruptured pipeline pumped nearly 21,000 gallons of oil into Refugio State Beach in the the Santa Barbara County Coast. Some of the oil traveled down shore and, about a week after the pipe rupture, reached Ventura County shores. Tar balls began washing up on Ventura County beaches. This May, Plains All American Pipeline, which owned the oil, was indicted on 46 counts of state law violations. It was later estimated that approximately 130,000 gallons of crude oil was involved in the spill.

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