- Oil has reached the shores of Huntington Beach, a popular destination 300 miles south of Los Angeles.
- At least 126,000 gallons of untreated water spilled into Orange County water late Friday or early Saturday.
- The spill, which originated from a broken pipeline connected to an offshore oil platform, comes three decades after a massive oil spill at the same end of the Orange County coast.
LOS ANGELES – One of Southern California’s largest oil producers shut down a pipeline this weekend as a possible leak sent 100,000 gallons of crude oil into the sea, washed up the coastline and wrapped both beaches and wildlife in dense crude tar.
Late Saturday night, Huntington reached the shores of the beach, about 30 miles south of Los Angeles, after a pipeline connected to an oil rig burst about 5 miles off the coast of a popular destination. More oil will be washed ashore this week, officials say.
Photos and videos from the coastline show pancake-shaped bunches covered in dense black oil coast. Residents were also shown pictures of birds being rescued Covered in black sludge. Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said the dead birds and fish were already washed ashore on Sunday morning.
At least 126,000 gallons of untreated water began to report sharply into the water late Friday or early Saturday, boat officials said. Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said the amount of gallons spilled into the water is likely to be higher, although the pipeline-owned fuel company said the total amount would probably not be higher.
Carr added that since early Saturday, officials have not been told how fast the oil has been leaking or how much pounds have been spilled.
“In one year, which was filled with incredibly challenging issues, this oil spill is one of the most devastating situations our society has faced in decades,” he said.
The leak originated from a broken pipeline connected to an offshore oil platform known as Eli. According to the Federal Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the platform is located just 8.5 miles from the other platform, Ellen, Long Beach, by walkway and is operated by a beta operating company.
Beta’s parent company is owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy Corporation.
Amplify Energy Corporation is one of the largest oil producers in Southern California. Its president and chief executive, Martin Wilsher, said they noticed a problem during an inspection Saturday morning and notified the U.S. Coast Guard. He said the pipeline was split at two ends and the pumps were shut off by Saturday night and remained on that route on Sunday.
Wilsher said the company is still investigating how it happened and whether it was actually leaked. Inspected every other year, he said the facilities were built in the 1970s and 1980s and Amplify Energy Corporation has owned and maintained the pipeline for nearly nine years.
“We are investigating the source and possible cause of this incident. As I said, we will continue to work with Unified Command to complete this recovery effort as soon as possible,” he said. “We are all deeply affected and concerned about the impact not only the environment, you know, fish and wildlife as well.”
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Wilsher promised that the company would “do everything in its power to ensure it is recovered as soon as possible.”
He added that he did not believe that the amount of oil spilled at sea would probably not exceed 126,000 gallons because it was the total capacity of the entire pipeline.
Huntington Beach Police spokeswoman Jennifer Carey said 126,000 gallons of oil spilled about n nautical miles long. Carey warned of “substantial environmental impact” for beaches and wetlands. About 4 miles of coastline was closed to the public.
“Because of the toxicity of the spill, the city is telling everyone to stay away from the beach and avoid contact with the oily area,” he said.
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Officials warned the public of the dangers of staying close to the coastline, with toxic fumes that could cause vomiting, dizziness and irritation of the nose, eyes and throat. If someone touches toxic mud, it can be absorbed by the skin and cause irritation.
Those wishing to help clean up or rescue disaster-affected animals were told not to go to the beach but to contact a nonprofit Surfrieder Foundation dedicated to coastal conservation and cleanup.
The Spill Response Team of the State Department of Fisheries and Wildlife was assisting in the clean-up effort.
The oil spill forced the cancellation of a popular air show as authorities rushed to reduce environmental damage. Officials canceled the final day of the annual Pacific Air Show, which usually attracts thousands of visitors to Huntington Beach, a city of 200,000 people.
“The size of the splash demanded quick and aggressive action,” Carey said. “Reducing the damage and impacts on our city’s sensitive wetlands and marine environment is crucial.”
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The U.S. Coast Guard was leading the spill response, saying a detailed investigation into the cause of the spill was under way. The crew, led by guards, deployed skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further intrusion into the wetlands and Balsa Chika Ecological Reserve.
The Coast Guard said it received a report of an oil spill on Saturday morning. The plane was sent to see the spread of the spread and the oiled wildlife care network was monitoring the stigmatized wildlife. Officials urged locals not to touch the oily wildlife.
The Coast Guard said, “Trained spill response contractors are working to clean up the oil. Public volunteers are not needed and may hamper response efforts.” “We urge members of the public to stay away from the area.”
Jacqueline Savitz, chief policy officer for environmental group Oceana, said it was time for President Joe Biden to stop offshore drilling to fulfill his campaign promises.
“When we drill, we fall,” Savitz said. “Now is the time to permanently protect our coast and prevent future oil spills.”
The outbreak came three decades after a massive oil spill at the same end of the Orange County coast. Feb 17, 1 On0, American merchant ran over his anchor on Huntington Beach and lost about 171,000,000 gallons. Fish and about 3,400 birds died.
In 2015, a broken pipeline north of Santa Barbara sent 143,000 gallons of crude oil to Refugio State Beach.
Contributed by: Associated Press