Wednesday, October 20, 2021

126,000 gallon oil spill leaves wildlife dead on Southern California coast

October 3 (WNN) — A major oil spill has dumped nearly 126,000 gallons of post-production crude off the coast of Southern California, officials said Sunday as cleanup workers rushed to prevent further environmental degradation.

Officials said during a press conference Saturday that the pipeline cracked about 5 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach in Orange County.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley told reporters that oil has already infiltrated several wetlands, including the Talbert Wetlands, and they “do everything they can” to prevent further contamination.

In a statement late Sunday, Foley said the presence of oil in Hunting Beach has become “slightly more intense” as he has seen increasing amounts of wash ash.

“There has been a significant amount of ecological impact, including loss of birds and fish, which have been reported to wash over the shore,” Foley said.

A total of 3,150 gallons of oily water have been removed, he said, adding that nine boats and three shoreline assessment teams have been dispatched for oil spill recovery operations, with a 3,700-foot boom deployed.

A health advisory has also been issued encouraging residents who have come into contact with contaminated material to seek medical attention.

“Even when an oil luster may not be visible, spilled and dissolved oil contamination can occur in the water,” Orange County Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chow said in a statement.

The city of Huntington Beach said in a statement that the spill measures approximately 5.8 nautical miles extending from the Huntington Beach Pier to Newport Beach, leading to sea closures from the Pier to the Santa Ana River Wharf.

“The spill has significantly affected Huntington Beach, with substantial ecological impacts occurring on the beach and on the Huntington Beach wetlands,” the city said. “In response, Huntington Beach Fire and Marine Security personnel have been deployed throughout the day to enforce environmental control efforts.”

On Sunday night, the city said via Facebook that federal, state and regional agencies have deployed sweepers and skimming boats to remove the oil from the environment.

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The US Coast Guard said an oil flash was reported off the coast at 9:10 a.m. Saturday.

The pipeline is owned by Houston-based oil and gas company Amplify Energy, President and CEO Martin Wilser said during a news conference.

“We are fully committed to staying out of here until this event is over,” Wilser said.

As of Sunday morning, city officials said the leak had yet to be stopped, but preliminary patching to repair the oil spill site had been completed as the US Coast Guard continues to respond to the incident.

The city also urged people to avoid the beach because of “poisoning created by the spill,” and city leadership canceled the Pacific Airshow, which was scheduled for Sunday to facilitate cleanup efforts.

Earlier Sunday, Foley tweeted that Oil was spilled on the beach along with dead birds and fish.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said Coast Guard information indicated the leak may have been the result of oil release from an offshore oil production off the coast.

Republican Representative Michelle Steele sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Sunday urging him to authorize a major disaster declaration for the Orange County community.

“Your acceptance of this request is imperative to a speedy recovery and support of aid efforts for all Californians,” he wrote. “Dead fish and birds are already being reported on beaches and shorelines.”

Oil spill forced the town of Huntington Beach To cancel The Pacific Airshow is scheduled for Sunday.

No exact cause of the leak has been determined and the Coast Guard is investigating.

National Transportation Safety Board tweeted Two investigators have been sent for investigation.

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