Home / Journal / 50 Years After the Santa Barbara Oil Spill: A Call to Action

50 years ago today “California’s Worst Oil Spill Turned Beaches Black And The Nation Green”. Yesterday, students, activists, non-governmental organization leaders, politicians and other community members filled 1,800 seats at the Arlington Theatre as they gathered for the “50 Years After the Santa Barbara Oil Spill: A Call to Action”.  The free event commemorated the first 50 years of the modern environmental movement and also called for renewed engagement and civic action. 

On January 28, 1969,  4 million gallons of oil flowed from Platform A’s ruptured pipeline off the coast of Santa Barbara. The spill devastated the Central Coast’s communities, marine animals and wildlife when more than 4 million gallons of oil flowed from Platform A’s ruptured pipeline.

“The Santa Barbara oil spill really helped to take an issue that was growing and really convert it into legislative action and a whole body of environmental law at the federal level and also at the state level that we still have with us today,” says Peter Alagona, a historian at UCSB.

The first Earth Day took place just over a year later in April of 1970. The Environmental Protection Agency was created in December of that year. Environmental laws passed or strengthened during this period included the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.

Following the spill was the birth of four organizations. Environmental Defense Center, the Community Environmental Council, UCSB Environmental Studies Program, and GET OIL OUT!, that developed  yesterday’s free community event.

Click here to view the live stream recording from the event.

For more information about the event, visit SantaBarbaraOilSpill50.com.




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