An oil pipeline off the coast of Huntington Beach, Calif., has dumped more than 120,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean, one of the largest spills in the state’s history.
According to Mayor Kim Carr, the spill has triggered a potential “ecological disaster”.
The spill was reported about five miles off the Southern California coast on October 2. Officials have reported that the leak has stopped as divers and emergency response teams check the 17-mile pipeline for the source of the leak.
Huntington Beach officials reported an oil shortage about 6 miles along the coast.
According to the US Coast Guard, as of Monday, more than 3,150 gallons of oil have been removed, and about 5,360 feet of oil booms – floating barriers to prevent oil infiltration – have been deployed ashore.
Here’s what we know so far.
What caused the leak?
We don’t know yet.
Federal, state and local workers are investigating how a pipeline operated by Beta Offshore, a subsidiary of Houston, Texas-based oil and gas company Amplify Energy, spewed the equivalent of about 3,000 barrels into the Pacific Ocean.
“There is no active leak that we are aware of, particularly in that specific area,” Amplify president Martin Wilser said on October 4.
He said the source of the leak could be identified within the next day.
The pipeline connects to one of three processing platforms about 17.5 miles from the coast.
A 2012 report from Beta Offshore and obtained by NBC News found that a “worst-case” pipeline breach would dump 3,000 barrels of oil, or 126,000 gallons—roughly the exact impact of the current spill.
According to the report reviewed by NBC News, a leak of that size would cause “significant and substantial damage to the environment” because “navigable waters and surrounding shoreline areas are designated as environmentally sensitive.”
Amplify, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the US Coast Guard and county officials are handling the investigation.
How did it affect the coast and wildlife?
Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr described the impact as an “environmental disaster” and a “potential ecological disaster” during a press conference on Sunday.
“In a year that has been fraught with incredibly challenging issues, this oil spill is one of the most devastating situations our community has dealt with in decades,” she said. “We are doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our residents, our visitors and our natural habitats.”
The spill has spread to Huntington Beach’s Talbert Marsh, and conservation groups have insisted it could take weeks or months to determine the full and long-term effects of the spill.
According to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at UC Davis, at least three birds have been recovered with oil. Another bird had to be euthanized.
US Rep. Michelle Steele, whose district includes Huntington Beach, wrote to President Joe Biden urging federal support for a disaster declaration in the area, which would fund recovery efforts.
“Authorities are already responding to protect marine life,” she wrote. “Dead fish and birds are already being reported on beaches and shorelines. I have serious concerns about the environmental impacts of the spill.”
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said crews are beginning to find “dead birds and fish washing up on shore.”
Are the beaches still open?
Orange County health officials issued a public health advisory urging residents to “abstain from participating in recreational activities such as swimming, surfing, biking, walking, exercising if they have been exposed to the spill.” ” Meeting.”
The Huntington Beach waterfront is closed between the Santa Ana River Jetty and Seapoint Street.
All Laguna Beach beaches are closed to the public until further notice. Although the spill has not yet reached the shores, emergency responders are “presuming it may have happened and are prepared to respond”.
Newport Beach officials are also advising people to avoid the water and affected beaches, though they are open to the public, with a water advisory.
“Unfortunately, the size and potential impact of this oil spill makes it necessary for people to stay out of the water and avoid contact with the oil,” Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery said in a statement. “The city’s top priority is to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors during the cleanup effort.”
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has also closed fisheries in the affected areas.
Has this happened before?
The latest spill comes more than three decades after a US merchant oil tanker spilled more than 416,000 gallons of crude oil, killing nearly 3,400 birds after the ship capsized off Huntington Beach in 1990. Went.
In 1969, a spill off the coast of Santa Barbara spilled about 80,000 barrels of crude. Another leak in 2015 dropped another 2,400 barrels into the Pacific Ocean.
Offshore oil production in California has declined over the past few decades, and Governor Gavin Newsom aims to end drilling along the coast by 2045.
According to a review of Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Records from the Associated Press, Beta Offshore has been cited for safety and environmental violations at least 125 times since 1980, including 72 times for serious violations, causing the company to Drilling had to be stopped.
What is the White House doing?
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the administration was closely monitoring the leak. The federal government is “working closely with state and local partners to address efforts to ultimately contain this spread and to assess the impact and find possible causes,” she told reporters on Oct.
After the spill, California Senators Alex Padilla and Diane Feinstein urged the administration and Congress to end offshore oil drilling — a proposal included in Democrats’ $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package, which included a sizable chunk of Biden’s . ..
Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Huntington Beach