Around 126,000 gallons of crude oil spewed into the Pacific Ocean near Huntington Beach
An oil spill struck the Southern California coast over the weekend — spewing around 126,000 gallons of post-production crude oil into the Pacific Ocean.
The spill originated from a 17-mile long pipeline roughly 5 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach, shutting down popular local beaches and creating an environmental hazard, reports CNN Business.
Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said on Sunday that the oil spill qualified as a “potential ecological disaster.”
“In a year that has been filled with incredibly challenging issues, this oil spill constitutes one of the most devastating situations that our community has dealt with in decades,” Carr told The Associated Press. “We are doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our residents, our visitors and our natural habitats.”
The U.S. Coast Guard says it used 14 boats to conduct oil recovery operations, has deployed more than a mile of oil boom, and removed around 3,150 gallons of oil from the ocean as of Sunday night.
Orange County health officials have advised residents to stay away from the water and to seek medical attention if they come in contact with the oil, listing eye and skin irritation, vomiting, and headache as possible side effects.
While residents have been warned to stay away, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley told CNN on Sunday that dead birds and fish were already beginning to wash up on shore.
“The oil has infiltrated the entirety of the (Talbert) wetlands. There’s significant impacts to wildlife there,” Foley told CNN. “These are wetlands that we’ve been working with the Army Corps of Engineers, with (a local) land trust, with all the community wildlife partners to make sure to create this beautiful, natural habitat for decades. And now in just a day, it’s completely destroyed.”
The oil company responsible is Amplify Energy, a small, independent company whose stock shares reportedly sunk 44% on Monday in the wake of the massive spill.