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The 5 Worst Oil Spills In Modern California History

HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) – A 127,000-gallon oil spill most likely caused by a leak from an offshore rig over the weekend has shut down Orange County's coastline between Huntington and Laguna beaches and created one of the worst ecological disasters in modern Southern California history.

Here is a rundown of some of the worst oil spills in state history as compiled by the California Coastal Commission:

  • In 1969, a blowout at an offshore rig operated by Union Oil off the Santa Barbara County coastline created a 4.2-million gallon oil spill. "This disaster is considered to have been a catalyst for the modern environmental movement," the CCC writes.
  • In 1971, a bunker spill sent 800,000 gallons of fuel into San Francisco Bay with a "devastating impact on local species."
  • In 1990, an oil tanker operated by American Trader spilled 416,000 gallons of oil off Huntington Beach. An estimated 3,400 birds were killed.
  • In 2007, in what is known as the Cosco Busan incident, a container ship struck the Bay Bridge and spilled 58,000 gallons of bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay.
  • In May of 2015, a crude oil pipeline broke off Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, spilling 100,000 gallons into the ocean. The spill from a corroded pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline blackened beaches, killed wildlife and hurt tourism and fishing. It was the worst California spill in 25 years.

TIMELINE: How The Huntington Beach Disaster Unfolded

PHOTO GALLERY: Enormous OC Oil Spill Kills Wildlife, Shuts Down Beaches

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