Santa Barbara Oil Spill

I was so sad to hear about the Plains All American Pipeline oil spill this occurred this past Tuesday off the coast of Santa Barbara County in California. The spill ended up being five times worse than they originally thought. While clean up efforts continue, the long term effects on the marine life and environment are yet to be seen. We are still seeing effects on the marine life from the Deep Water Horizon oil spill that took place in the Gulf back in 2010.

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has this to say:

“California’s coastline is one of the state’s most precious natural treasures. This oil spill has scarred the scenic Santa Barbara coast, natural habitats and wildlife. My office is working closely with our state and federal partners on an investigation of this conduct to ensure we hold responsible parties accountable.”

This spill hits a little closer to home for me. I live in northern California, and I volunteer with marine mammals like the California sea lions and elephant seals being effected by this spill. In addition, fish, birds, and other wildlife are being affected by this spill. Apparently, it is the only major pipeline in the area without an automatic shut off valve because of the previous owner somehow talking his way around the requirements back in the ’80s. That is unacceptable. As of today, they still hadn’t found the segment of pipeline with the leak.

In an MSNBC article, it is reported that:

“The oil transportation company has been fined at least 10 times for oil spill violations in four other states between 2004 and 2007, according to reports. The Houston-based company has been deemed the “worst violators” by the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration.”

This company needs a kick in the butt. They should be shut down. That many violations and failure to have an automatic shut off valve?! It makes me sick just thinking about it. We can only hope that this was a lesson to them, and that they will be held fully responsible.

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Wildlife Rehabbers: True Heroes

This morning I read an article on CNN Heroes about a woman named Mona Rutger. It is people like her that inspire me to want to work in wildlife rehabilitation. It is by no means a career that is going to bring you wealth and fame, but it is a career so rewarding that you will feel like the wealthiest person in the world.

Licensed wildlife rehabilitators, especially those not working in a larger established facility, give up all of their time, money, sweat, and tears to try and heal wounded wildlife and return them to their rightful home in the wild. Rutger is quoted in the article saying “Everyone says, ‘Let nature take its course,’ but 90% of these animals’ injuries are human-related. That’s not nature. It’s us.”

That is how I originally became interested in wildlife rehab back when I did my first rehabilitation internship at the Missouri Wildlife Rescue Center. I noticed so many animals coming in with human caused injuries. Hit by a car, attacked by a dog, hit with a lawn mower, and firework injuries around the Fourth of July. Humans need to be more careful in their interactions with nature and realize that these animals are living breathing souls as well. I can’t tell you how many opossums, for example, came in during my internship dead from being hit by a car but with live babies still in their pouch. Because the human may not have seen the mother, those joeys are now orphans.

Mona Rutger and others like her are truly inspirational for people like me who hope to enter the rehabilitation field. I can only hope that people appreciate what people like that do. Rehabilitation facilities usually rely entirely on donations and volunteer help so I encourage anyone interested to donate to your local center and even volunteer to help out if you have time.

Mona Rutger examining an injured eagle Source Link

Mona Rutger examining an injured eagle
Source Link

Link to CNN Heroes: Mona Rutger article.