- Huntington falls across a few miles of sea along the coast at the beach.
- The oil wash will continue for a few days, officials warned.
- More than 125,000 gallons of oil spilled from the pipeline about four miles off the coast.
Cleanup crews deployed a skimmer off the coast of Los Angeles-Southern California and attempted to dip pieces of oil into sea water on Monday, when wildlife experts jumped in to protect birds and fish from a huge oil hole that threatened to shut down the beach for months.
Huntington Beach, 300 miles south of Los Angeles, is littered with sea miles and dense black oil shells along the coast. The disaster also sparked outrage from environmental groups who demanded an end to offshore drilling.
The oil wash will continue for a few days, officials warned. Its smell spreads to the area.
“You get a mouthful of taste from the air vapor,” said Katrina Foley, Orange County Supervisor. Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said the spill has caused “substantial environmental impact” for the beach and wetlands.
Authorities say more than 125,000 gallons of oil spilled from a pipeline about four miles away. Carr said the spill is affecting about six miles of coastline and his city beaches could be closed for months.
Other nearby towns have also closed the beach. Foley said dead birds and fish were being washed ashore and that the oil had “completely penetrated” into some wetlands.
Destructive pictures Show destructive oil spills off the coast of Southern California
Monica Embre, director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign, said the last reason to move away from the oil well is to spill.
“How many of these oil disasters do we need to see before our elected leaders realize that there is no safe way to drill or transport dirty fossil fuels?” Embray said. “This spread is another reminder that we can have a healthy and safe community, a prosperous coastal economy and a stable climate – or we can continue drilling for oil. We can’t have both.”
Jacqueline Savitz, Oceania’s chief policy officer, also said it was time to stop offshore drilling.
“This is just the latest tragedy in the oil industry,” he said. “The reality of our dependence on oil and gas is fully reflected here.
Laura Dehan, state director of the Environment California, called it a “clear and dark reminder” of the dangers looming in the region, which includes the great blue herones, pelicans and endangered California low-turn as well as sea turtles and fish.
“This splash threatens them all,” Dihan said. “This environmental disaster highlights the urgent need for Governor (Gavin) Newsom to accelerate our transition from fossil fuels to a 100% renewable energy-driven economy.”
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The Coast Guard was leading a “unified command” of federal, state and local agencies to investigate and clean up. An oily duck has been collected and is being taken care of by veterinarians and “other reports of oily wildlife are being investigated,” the agency said early in the cleanup effort.
The Oiled Wildlife Care Network was at the scene, and the public was asked to report but no attempt was made to catch the oiled animals.
Carr said Houston-based Amplify Energy Corporation’s California subsidiary is responsible for spreading the beta offshore. On its website, Beta Offshore says it operates three offshore platforms, 12 miles south of Long Beach, one of the largest oil producers in Southern California.
“The company is also working on cleaning up efforts, and in the coming days and weeks, we will work to ensure that Amplify Energy Corporation does its best to rectify this environmental catastrophe,” Carr said.
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Martin Wilsher, CEO of Amplify Energy, issued a scathing statement Monday saying the company had sent a remote-powered vehicle to investigate and try to confirm the source of the release. All production and pipeline operations of the company at Beta Field have been shut down, the statement said.
“Amplify Energy is a fully appointed member and is working in collaboration with Unified Command,” it said. The company’s share price fell more than 40% as of Monday afternoon.
Bacon reports from Arlington, VA. Contributed by: Associated Press