Local activist comments on report of oil spill analysis

By David Pu’u

Editor’s note:  When asked to comment on news reports of an oil spill analysis which linked samples of beach tar found over a wide range of SoCal coastal areas, Mr. Pu’u responded as follows:

That report is part of another being circulated around, which is an editorialization of line items taken out of context. It is in prettyOXFD-Beach 010 direct contradiction to several facts.

1. Oil spill was a very low volume spill when compared to historic daily field seepage or almost any other marine based significant spill event, globally speaking.

What that means basically, is that it is HIGHLY improbable (as in buy a lotto ticket) that oil from this land based spill which was contained by cleanup crews on a TEENSY section of coast under exceptionally calm conditions made it almost to Mexico.

2. The studies done at UCSB and those of WHOI indicated that all seepage oil in the offshore fields matched the oil being pumped from those fields.

3. When oil is pumped,  before piping, they add dewaxing agents. This does not change the chemistry of the oil itself, not permanently anyway. The agents are a relatively high VOC product which is what people were really getting a whiff of up at the site. In processing it gets reducted rapidly. But in the ecosystem it takes a bit longer and could potentially cause the oil to slow in it’s weathering process, before it gets converted back into it’s base elements, through environmental interaction.

4. What that means basically, is that oil on the beach from bottom vent seepage locations in the channel is the same as oil from the Refugio spill within a couple weeks.

5. I suppose it could be possible for some tar to be finger printed as having had the same dewaxing agents as at Refugio, but not only does it not necessarily mean it was from Refugio, but that it makes NO difference in system health. It is a housekeeping issue.

6. In other words, much ado about the wrong stuff.

Make sense?



CJ articles by David Pu’u

  • News & Facts – Cal Spill Watch – State of California


     California Department of Fish and Wildlife

    Although the test results of this tarball sample matched the Refugio Incident oil spill, the source of all tarballs on Manhattan Beach cannot be determined based …


David Pu’u is an internationally recognized photographer and cinematographer with broad experience ranging from editorial publication, to television and feature film production. Currently David is lead creative and CEO of Neocreative Inc, which develops and licenses IP related to Photography, Literature and Film. He is Co Founder of OceanLovers Collective Inc.  He holds a Certification as a Rescue Boat Operator and First Responder via K38 Maritime and AWA, and is trained in risk assessment and mitigation in marine environments.  

He has also done work as a creative and advisor in think tank project environments  at ARUP, the Sea-Space Initiative,  the ongoing Neuroscience Project: Blue Mind, and the Seth Godin based project: Triiibes.


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