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The Latest on California oil spill: Pipeline was at capacity


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GOLETA, Calif. (AP) — 11:30 a.m. (PDT)

The company that owns the pipeline that broke and spewed oil into the Pacific Ocean says it's still unknown exactly how much oil was lost, but the pipeline was operating at maximum capacity.

Plains All American Pipeline LP official Darren Palmer says the pipeline was running at a rate of 2,000 barrels an hour — equivalent to 84,000 gallons.

Initial estimates put the spill about 20 miles west of Santa Barbara at about 21,000 gallons. But U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams has said that figure was likely to change after a flyover gives a better sense of its scope.

The 24-inch pipeline spewed oil down a storm drain and into the ocean for several hours Tuesday before it was shut off. Plains All American Pipeline says it then stopped the flow and blocked the culvert.

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11 a.m. (PDT)

Oil floating off the California coast after a spill from a broken pipe now stretches about 9 miles.

U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams provided the updated figure during a news conference Wednesday.

She says vessels have deployed three sets of floating booms to try to keep the slicks from spreading, while other boats are skimming oil from the sea surface.

A Coast Guard captain and an Environmental Protection Agency official are the federal coordinators of the response to the spill about 20 miles west of Santa Barbara. That's because it originated on land and then entered the ocean.

Williams says state and local officials are also part of the unified command.

The broken onshore pipeline spewed thousands of gallons of oil down a storm drain and into the Pacific Ocean for several hours Tuesday before it was shut off.

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