According to other animal rights activists trying to help in Santa Barbara, the Plains Oil company is not only lying about the gravity of the situation; they are doing everything possible to prevent volunteers from helping and they are actively preventing journalists from being able to cover the story objectively.
Environmental activists and animal protection volunteers have been pushed aside, prevented from speaking to the press and turned away for "lack of proper training," says Julia Orr, a Glendale animal rights activist and publicist who organized a group of volunteers to go to the oil spill site in order to help rescue dying animals.
"When we do the clean-ups, we will have the proper coverall suits, gloves and respirators. Unlike the workers we saw on site yesterday," said Julia Orr. "Plains all American had workers handling dangerous toxins without breathing protection and the fumes are extremely thick."
"We drove to the press conference organized by All Plains oil company and there was a row of cops, we weren't allowed in. We joined a protest that was outside the press conference. We were protesting the cover-up of the oil spill. We packed the car with rubber boots, gloves, carriers for animals. We were turned away from Refugio Beach. It was completely blocked off by men in white overalls. They wouldn't even let you stop. We stopped at each beach south of Refugio and those were also blocked off, this time by cop cars. Parks and recreation officers were telling people 'it's blocked off, you can't go down there.' We were able to get onto a beach 8 miles south of the spill. We saw massive globs of black oil on the beach. This was farther south than what the oil company admitted to. All along , from Refugio down to Santa Barbara, the only sign of any cleanup going on was at Refugio. There was no where near enough clean-up going on. This is not an accidental spill, it's because they didn't have a shut-off valve on that pipe-line. Wouldn't it be nice if humans did the right thing, just once? People dismiss the lives of the animals affected. They are so disconnected that they don't consider the life of one sea lion or one dolphin or their suffering, what they go through covered in oil. They are all family members. It is a devastating loss of life."~ Julia Orr In the latest update this afternoon via text from Tim Rusmisel, he stated that several times during today's meeting, various representatives from the Joint Command at the oil spill listed damages and losses caused by the spill. "Tax dollars, tourism revenue, property damage, human health were all mentioned but wildlife was left off of their lists."