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.

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.

FILE - In this Feb. 5, 1969 file photo, work crews rake and shovel oil soaked straw at the harbor following a spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. (AP Photo/Wally Fong, File)
FILE – In this Feb. 5, 1969 file photo, work crews rake and shovel oil soaked straw at the harbor following a spill in Santa Barbara, Calif. (AP Photo/Wally Fong, File)

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