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Santa Barbara Oil Spill Crews Using Lessons Learned From Massive Bay Spill

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – As the cleanup of a massive oil spill near Santa Barbara continues, crews are making use of some lessons learned after a big spill in San Francisco Bay several years ago.

"The spill in Santa Barbara is definitely a wakeup call to the bay area to make sure we're ready for the next big oil spill," said Sejal Choksi-Chugh of Baykeeper.

When the tanker Cosco Busan crashed into the Bay Bridge back in 2007 leading to more than 53,000 gallons of oil spilled.

The spill left 26 miles of shoreline covered in oil. Nearly 7000 birds and thousands more fish died.

The Coast Guard initial response was very slow.

Have they learned from that experience in Santa Barbara?

"It seems like the agencies are out faster this time around, but we won't know for sure until we see the aftermath and see exactly how the evaluations go down," Choksi-Chugh told KPIX 5. "The crews have been out, the booms have come out, but it seems like the spill estimate was also low in this case."

Baykeeper is behind a recently passed state law which requires better communication and faster responses to oil spills. Timely, as oil companies have said they are about to bring a thicker type of oil through the bay.

"And certainly if a heavy fuel like tar sands are starting to come in on tankers and through pipelines, we want to be sure that we're ready," Choksi-Chugh said.

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