"ISLA VISTA, Calif. -- The morning swell off the Santa Barbara coast is running high as the crew boat churns away from the pier west of Haskell’s Beach toward Platform Holly.
Nearly a dozen lawyers and engineers, dressed in fire-retardant coveralls, hard hats and fat, orange life jackets, crowd the aft deck. Almost two years ago, Holly — one of 27 oil platforms along the California coast from Huntington Beach to Point Arguello — became property of the state after its owner, Venoco, filed for bankruptcy.
The future of the platform is in question, but all drilling has ceased and the wells will be sealed. The work, estimated to cost around $350 million, is expected to be completed no sooner than 2021."