May 20th 2015 will once again be marked as a blowback to all those concerned with maritime conservation. Off the Californian coast, some of the 21,000 gallons of oil have spilled into the ocean and onto the nearby beaches.

The most recent spill is result of a busted pipeline, a pipeline operated by Plains All American Pipeline off the Santa Barbara County Coast. While authorities have contained the leak, that stretched four miles along the Refugio Beach, the cause still remains unknown. It is not the first time that the company makes headlines in connection with a spill. In February 2013 pipelines operated by Plains All American released 120 barrels of oil near Bay Springs and leaked approximately 700 barrels of light crude oil near Kemp River, Canada.

According to a spokesperson “Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact”. Richard Abrams, the emergency manager for Santa Barbara County, confirms “…it is in the water so it is impacting the environment.” The exact ramifications of the spill are yet to be determined and will require thorough investigation.

One cannot help but notice a recent rise in oil spills, whether resulted from a busted pipeline, as has been the case in California, or from Oleg Neydenov, a vessel that caught fire in the port of Las Palmas on the Island of Grand Canaria in April of this year, leaking 1,409 tons of fuel. While many politicians and governments stand idle and even welcome oil exploration and development, OceanCare, an international renowned non-profit organisation holding Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the UN, has fought against the further exploitation of our world’s oceans. In their most recent effort with the campaign “Silent Oceans”, OceanCare has been able to push hard against oil exploration activities on the Balearic Islands. OceanCare has similarly been active in Croatia. While oil companies see the potential for crude oil in the Adriatic, OceanCare directly lobbied Croatian authorities pointing out the risks.

The most recent example in California once again makes evident that the “Black Gold” bears risks to the environment that are often overlooked in the hope of financial gains.