At noon yesterday, a pipeline ruptured just north of Santa Barbara. Before it was stopped three hours later, it spilled some 21,000 gallons of crude oil onto nine miles of beaches and into the ocean. Birds, fish and sea lions are among the wildlife that's being threatened — and some beaches are already blackened by spilled oil. The "responsible party" is Plains All American Pipeline, based in Houston. Apologizing for the accident, District manage Darren Palmer assured, "We're bringing in all the resources at our disposal to respond. Our focus remains on the safety of our first responders and the environment."