Zoom with HTO & Expert Panelists on Thursday, June 17 @ 7PM to Hear How the Summerland Oil Wells are Being Capped & Learn What’s Next on the List!

By Giving List Staff   |   June 17, 2021
The NorthStar leak onto Summerland Beach was capped in 2020. (Photo by Harry Rabin, On the Wave Productions)

Many HTO fans know about our organization’s work capping the leaking oil wells of Summerland. For decades, oil has been leaking from the wellheads of some of the first offshore oil rigs in the world, over 400 of them right here in Santa Barbara County. The beaches in Summerland were a major source of oil pollution, which, spread as far southeast as Carpinteria and northwest along the coast to Miramar, Hammonds, and East Beach.

Finding the exact locations of these leaks and making the determination that they were indeed old wellheads vs. natural seeps took years of research both above and below the ocean. Good observations, sophisticated technology – from drones and ROV’s to multibeam sonar – and determination, all would need to be deployed to solve the mystery of where the oil plumes were coming from, to arrive at a viable solution to stop the flow of oil into the ocean.

After years of collaboration, Heal the Ocean, former California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, UCSB, InterAct, the California State Lands Commission, and our own Advisory Board Member Harry Rabin (who is greatly responsible for keeping the project on course), have successfully worked together to cap the leaking oil wells off Summerland Beach. 

Join us tonight, Thursday, June 17, 2021, at 7 pm as we come together to tell the story of this victory for the environment at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s Zoom event: Detecting and Capping Leaking Oil Wells in Summerland. This Zoom presentation will be led by producer, director, and documentary filmmaker Harry Rabin, the CEO, and founder of On the Wave Productions who worked alongside engineers and divers in the Summerland oil well field. The event will feature panelists who were involved in this environmental success, including:

• Mike Giuliani – Head engineer at InterAct – the contractors working under the California State Lands Commission (SLC);

• Joe Fabel – an attorney for the SLC;

• Hillary Hauser – Executive Director of Heal the Ocean;

• David Valentine, Ph.D. – Founding Director of the Marine Science program in the College of Creative Studies at UCSB & current Professor of Geochemistry and Microbiology at UCSB;

• Hannah-Beth Jackson – Former CA State Senator who authored SB 44 the Coastal Hazards & Legacy Oil & Gas Wells Removal & Remediation Program, which has secured $2 million per year in funding for the Summerland work.

The event is free for all, but registration is required. To register for the Zoom event, please click here. We hope to “see” you all on Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m. for this interesting discussion.

NOTE: The next well, Ohlsson 805, is scheduled to be capped next month, in July 2021; and Duquesne, a beach well, is scheduled to be capped at the end of the 2021 year, in December – to end the year with a Christmas present for everyone!

Thank you to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and the event sponsor Marie L. Morrisroe!


Heal the Ocean | Santa Barbara


Heal the Ocean focuses on wastewater infrastructure – sewers and septic systems – as well as ocean dumping practices that have contributed to ocean pollution. We are focused on Santa Barbara County, but our methods are now serving as a model for other coastal communities across the country.

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They Heal Our Ocean

I’ve surfed for years at the Rincon, and am in the water all the time. It is such a relief to know that the septic systems are gone, that we’re not swimming in polluted water like we were doing day in and day out, getting sinus, ear, nose, eye infections and who knows what else. Yes, there are other bad things that get into the ocean, but just knowing that this one big source of contamination has been removed is huge. This is one of the most popular surf spots in California, world known, and the legacy left to this piece of ocean will be there forever. It’s so interesting to hear the younger surfers today, who don’t know about the battles Heal the Ocean went through to get this project done. They were little kids at the time. Think of it, it’s now history!
– Heather Hudson, surfer

Return on Investment

Heal the Ocean’s pragmatic approach ensures that any donation the organization receives will be returned in multiples.
A $25,000 investment in aerial infrared photography showing leaking oil fields off the coast of Summerland was the proof then-Governor Jerry Brown needed to sign Senate Bill 44, which allocated $14 million towards capping aging wells along the California coast.
A $5,000 investment in a consultant allowed HTO to snag $150,000 in state funds to pay for a conceptual engineering study for a recycled water facility in Goleta, and another $150,000 for state-funded conceptual engineering plans for a recycled water facility in Santa Ynez. These studies and conceptual engineering plans have put these agencies first in line for state funding help for the actual building of the facilities. So HTO effectively turned $5,000 into a potential of 50 million dollars.

Board of Directors

Hillary Hauser, President and Executive Director
Jean-Michel Cousteau
Thomas Dabney, Treasurer
Charles Vinick
Heather Hudson, Event Manager
Jonathan Wygant
Tom White