California Oil Spill Investigations
Environmental impacts could be widespread.
By: Sarah Cowgill | October 21, 2021 | 439 Words
A pipeline off the coast of California leaked over 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. The accident is affecting fishing, marine life, and beach and sporting activities. The leak is still being investigated due to fears of an environmental catastrophe.
Most officials and the owners of the pipeline, Amplify Energy of Houston, believe the line was punctured by a ship’s anchor.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has joined the California Department of Justice, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office to look for any hint of foul play.
The Coast Guard boarded a cargo ship that had dragged its anchor on the ocean floor in the area of the oil pipe. They have also inspected at least two other ships.
However, the actual damage could have happened months or even a year ago, and pinpointing the culprit will not be easy. “We’re still looking at multiple vessels and scenarios,” said Coast Guard Junior Lieutenant SondraKay Kneen.
The Environmental Damage
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said:
“The oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach is an environmental disaster with far-reaching consequences for our fish and wildlife, for our communities, and for our economy. I want to thank all our local, state, and federal partners who are working around the clock to protect the health and safety of Californians and to mitigate the damage to our environment and natural resources.”
Huntington Beach and neighboring city Newport Beach are known as “Surf City USA” and are very active. Shutting the beach impacted local shops, but most people have voiced concerns about the long-term impact on wetland areas and wildlife.
Oiled Wildlife Care Network reports dozens of birds and fish have been found dead since the spill.
For now, officials are testing fish and other marine life for toxicity from the oil spill and collecting tar samples washing up on the local beaches. Experts say the cleanup will not take as long as they first predicted, but they are worried about the long-term effects on the local economy, vegetation, and wildlife.
California Fish and Wildlife Lieutenant Christian Corbo explains that locals are used to seeing oil pools and tar bits washing up on the sand as there is a lot of oil drilling off the coast.
There is good news. Coast Guard Captain Rebecca Ore updated the media, saying the spill was smaller than many had feared. She said, “the spill amount is approximately 588 barrels.” The first estimates were five times that number.