50th anniversary of California offshore oil spill marked

Opponents of offshore drilling marked the 50th anniversary of the disastrous 1969 Santa Barbara Channel oil spill by demonstrating against federal policy that seeks to expand energy development off the nation's coasts.

Demonstrators organized by the Center for Biological Diversity and other organizations chanted Monday outside the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's Pacific regional office in Ventura County.

"We wanted to memorialize the spill 50 years ago," said Blake Kopcho, oceans campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity. "Fifty years later, oil drilling remains as dangerous and dirty as ever and needs to be phased out and not expanded. Californians adamantly oppose his plan." 

The Trump administration moved last year to expand offshore drilling, renewing debate over the risks.

The Jan. 28, 1969, blowout on a Union Oil Co. platform in the channel spilled millions of gallons of crude that fouled 30 miles of coastline and killed thousands of birds and sea creatures.

The spill was one of the catalysts of the American environmental movement.

KTVU contributed to this report.