The Environment: The Dead Channel

The killing sea of oil off Southern California grew ever wider and more elusive. Though the eleven-day leak on Union Oil Company's offshore rig had been successfully plugged, its 800-sq.-mi. slick returned with each tide. And it was fed anew by a residual leak under Platform A that appeared last week.

Wherever it shifted, the oil brought ecological disaster to bird and sea life. At Santa Barbara's three treatment centers, 1,400 sea-diving birds had been brought in. Only a third survived. Other shoreline birds, such as curlews, plovers and willets, which feed on sand...

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