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Residents voice concerns at oil spill open house - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Residents voice concerns at oil spill open house

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 On the twelfth day since the South Coast Oil Spill, residents are finally getting a chance to ask questions face-to-face with the officials and agencies behind the spill.
     
The Oil Spill Response Community Open House in Goleta Saturday was set up so that residents could talk casually with the involved agencies and organizations, who each had booths at the event.

Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider described the open house as a transparent discussion, looking at the realities of the oil spill and what it will take to return the coastline to its former condition.

"We need to have assurance from the oil company that they are doing absolutely everything they can to make sure a spill like this never happens again," Schneider told KSBY.

Resident Janice Gamble attended with her daughter to learn how they can get involved.

"I think it's everybody's responsibility in the community to know more about this and see how we all can be part of helping and changing to make us less reliant on oil," Gamble said.

Representatives from Plains All American Pipeline chatted with residents, including Senior Director of Safety Patrick Hodgins.

"We regret what happened, we truly do." Hodgins said. "We're going to do the right thing. We understand the frustration of the residents. We're going to make it right."

Plains reiterated Saturday that they are taking full responsibility for the spill, amidst questions about their safety record and the nation's overall reliance on oil.

Mayor Schneider told KSBY she thinks Santa Barbara could lead the way in alternative energy as a response to the spill.

"What I'm hoping is that this is an opportunity for us to really look at what are the local, state and national policies moving forward," she said. "In terms of reducing incidences like this from happening ever again, trying to get ourselves into a clean and renewable energy, sustainable future."

Nearly 200 people attended the open house.

Plains All American could not give firm answers to how much the cleanup will cost or how long it will take to complete.
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