Editor's note: The pipeline responsible for the spill off Santa Barbara, Calif., is owned by Plains All American, reports the Associated Press. It carries crude oil produced by companies operating on the Central Coast and delivers it through a maze of pipes to refineries around the state. - Tom
Santa Barbara is the county seat of Santa Barbara County, California. Situated on a south-facing section of coastline, the longest such section on the West Coast of the United States, the city lies between the steeply rising Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Santa Barbara's climate is often described as Mediterranean, and the city has been promoted as the "American Riviera". As of the census of 2010, the city had a population of 88,410, a loss of 1,190 from the previous census, making it the second most populous city in the county after Santa Maria while the contiguous urban area, which includes the cities of Goleta and Carpinteria, along with the unincorporated regions of Isla Vista, Montecito, Mission Canyon, Hope Ranch, Summerland, and others, has an approximate population of 220,000. The population of the entire county in 2010 was 423,895.
In addition to being a popular tourist and resort destination, the city economy includes a large service sector, education, technology, health care, finance, agriculture, manufacturing, and local government. In 2004, the service sector accounted for fully 35% of local employment. Education in particular is well represented, with five institutions of higher learning on the south coast (the University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, Westmont College, Antioch University, and the Brooks Institute of Photography). The Santa Barbara Airport serves the city, as does Amtrak. U.S. Highway 101 connects the Santa Barbara area with Los Angeles to the southeast and San Francisco to the northwest. Behind the city, in and beyond the Santa Ynez Mountains, is the Los Padres National Forest, which contains several remote wilderness areas. Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary are located approximately 20 miles offshore.