Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have documented something we’ve suspected for years.
Those nasty seeps off the Channel coast are worse polluters than the Exxon Valdez — by a factor of 10 or more. Preliminary research from UCSB and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has determined that the oil seeps have leaked millions of gallons of oil and that much of it winds up on the sea floor in extremely degraded form.
The report, slated for publication on May 15, is the first step toward understanding how the seeps work. It also prompts the region to come up with plans to mitigate the seeps’ long-term impact. This is an important milestone in charting the future course of environmental action for our region.