Environment

It could be months before investigators can determine what caused a pipeline leak that has fouled a stretch of coast in Southern California, the company that operates the oil conduit says.

Since the leak was discovered earlier this week, more than 9,000 gallons of oil have been raked, skimmed or vacuumed from a 9-mile stretch of California shoreline near Santa Barbara, officials say.

"We have not even uncovered the pipe yet," said Patrick Hodgins, senior director of safety for Texas-based Plains All American, according to The Associated Press.

The AP reports:

What's at the bottom of the bottom of the food chain? Well, think small ... smaller than you can see.

Tiny life forms in the ocean, too small for the naked eye to see.

There are (and scientists have done the math) trillions of microorganisms in the ocean: plankton, bacteria, krill (they're maybe bigger than "micro," but not by much), viruses, protists and archaea (they're like bacteria, but they aren't bacteria).

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

To discover the new frontier of urban farming, you'll have to look up — and look sharp — for hanging fruit.

Updated at 11 a.m. ET

The Texas-based company responsible for the undersea pipeline that has leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the sea near the coast at Goleta, Calif., has a history of federal safety violations, The Los Angeles Times reports.

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The weed-whacker is a frequent companion to the sounds of chirping birds and rustling pines at Ross Frank's ranch in Chumstick, Wash. With forested land on all sides, he's clearing dense brush beneath a stand of by his house.

"So we're turning that around manually and mimicking what fire would have done naturally," he says.

Updated at 6:49 p.m. ET

A nine-mile slick of spilled crude has fouled parts of the California coastline near Santa Barbara, officials say.

Mark Crossland, a captain with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said some wildlife will likely be affected because of the spill.

Legislation was signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott after the city of Denton voted to restrict fracking. Denton officials say oil companies should not wield more power than citizens.

Editor's Note: Sharon Wilson, an organizer interviewed in this story, began advocating for fracking reform in Denton in 2009 as an unpaid citizen leader. In 2011, she was hired as a full-time organizer by the environmental group Earthworks to continue her anti-fracking work in Denton.

The buzz around bees has been bad lately. As we've reported, beekeepers say they lost 42 percent of honeybee colonies last summer.

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