In May of 2015, an oil pipeline ruptured near Refugio Beach, just west of Santa Barbara. I know this beach well. I learned to surf here. It was a place that bridged time for me, from the early days to just two years ago, my last visit. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I grew up on this beach, this one and a few others. This was a home to me as I was going through the wonder years, in a way that is as soulful and intimate as it is impossible to explain.
When I saw that beach soaked in oil, it made me mad. I saw how people who were trying to help were being turned away because they lacked the training to be of use in that environment. I resolved that if it ever happens again, I would not be in that position. I had hoped that others came away feeling the same way.
If the overflow class at yesterday’s HAZWOPER training is any indication, I was not the only one spurred to action.