- Amplify Energy Corp. did not shut down the pipeline for more than three hours even after being alerted.
- The Coast Guard was alerted Friday night by a “Good Samaritan” but did nothing until the next day.
- It is not clear what effect the delay has had on wildlife.
Huntington Beach, Calif. — The Coast Guard and the company operating a pipeline that leaked up to 144,000 gallons of oil into Southern California waters are facing intense scrutiny for delayed responses Which could have aggravated the disaster.
According to federal regulators, Amplify Energy Corp. did not shut down the pipeline about 100 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean for more than three hours. and a Coast Guard official admitted that the agency was Alert for a glare on the water Friday night by a “Good Samaritan” but did little until the next day.
Coast Guard Rear Admiral Brian Pennoyer said Tuesday that the agency did not have enough corroborating evidence when the call came and was hampered by darkness and a lack of technology. Pennoyer said that reports of oil flashes at major ports are quite common.
“After all, it seems obvious, but they didn’t know at the time,” Penauer said.
Amplify personnel received a “low pressure alarm” on the pipeline at 2:30 a.m. Saturday indicating a possible failureThe US Department of Transportation’s safety regulators wrote in a letter to the company. The letter said that at 6 a.m. – more than three hours later – the pipeline was shut down.
The letter from the Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration also noted that the company had six hours to report the spill to the 24-hour Federal National Response Center, the designated federal point of contact for all oil, chemical, radiological reporting. Took longer than Biological and etiological discharge into the environment.
Amplify’s spill-response plan calls for immediate notification in the event of a spill. But CEO Martin Wilsher insisted that the company was not aware of the spill until the flash of water was detected at 8:09 a.m. Saturday.
It is not clear what effect the delay has had on wildlife. The Oiled Wildlife Care Network said on Tuesday that two birds were found dead and 13 were found alive. Cleaners were scooping oil from shallow water, through delicate wetlands in small boats.
Coast Guard Captain Rebecca Ore said divers found a 13-inch split in the pipeline, which investigators believe may have been the source of the oil spill. The agency said divers also found a bend in a 17-mile pipeline that had extended 105 feet, possibly pulled by an anchor.
Federal transportation investigators said preliminary reports suggest the failure “could have been caused by an anchor that bent the pipeline, causing a partial tear.”
Dozens of ships have regularly anchored offshore in recent months, awaiting access to ports plagued by COVID-19 delays and other issues that have slowed global supply chains.
Bacon reported from Arlington, VA. Contribution: The Associated Press