The Enduring Aftermath of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill

In January of 1969 a fraudulently installed oil platform off of Santa Barbara, California, experienced a catastrophic failure that ruptured the sea floor and caused the largest American oil spill to that time. This was an era without regulation, oversight, or contingency planning, and Union Oil’s pathetic and patronizing response enraged conservationists around the globe, thus helping galvanize the fledgling environmental movement. The Pacific Standard provides an outstanding oral history of the disaster, including many images of the disaster and the response.

‘The Ocean Is Boiling’: The Complete Oral History of the 1969 Santa Barbara Oil Spill, 4.18.17