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The July 8 issue of the San Clemente Times included two related articles: “Source of Oil Spill off San Clemente Island Remains Unidentified,” and “We Can’t Let New Offshore Drilling Devastate the South OC Economy.”

What the writers of these articles don’t realize is that over 10,000 gallons (35 tons) of petroleum naturally seep from the ocean bottom every day in the Santa Barbara Channel, north of Oxnard.

That figure does not include the natural seepage from the Santa Monica Basin, Santa Monica Bay, San Pedro Channel or the Gulf of Santa Catalina, which together encompass the offshore waters from Oxnard to the Mexican border.

As a youngster surfing Salt Creek in the 1960s, by the end of the day, the bottoms of my feet would be black from the petroleum tar on the beach.

These ocean-bottom oil seeps are the work of nature; they’ve always occurred and will continue to occur. It’s just part of our natural environment. They greatly overshadow the totality of human-caused oil spills.

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