Pipeline Leak Off the Coast of Huntington Beach Dumps 126,000 Gallons of Oil into Pacific

A person stands near oil washed up on Huntington State Beach after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 3, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great Pacific Airshow with authorities urging people to avoid beaches in the vicinity. …
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An oil pipeline leak off of the coast of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach in California has dumped 126,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean.

The Coast Guard was alerted to the leakage around 9:15 a.m. on October 2, according to the LA Times. 

Crews deploy skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday., Oct. 3, 2021. One of the largest oil spills in recent Southern California history fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Crews deploy skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday., Oct. 3, 2021. One of the largest oil spills in recent Southern California history fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

The scene of the pipeline leak is an offshore oil platform referred to as Elly and is located 8.5 miles off the shore of Long Beach and is under the control of Beta Operating Company, according to the Associated Press. 

“The spill has significantly affected Huntington beach, with substantial ecological impacts occurring at the beach and at the Huntington Beach Wetlands,” Huntington officials wrote in a statement. 

“Currently, the oil slick plume measures an estimated 5.8 nautical miles long and runs from the Huntington Beach Pier down into Newport Beach,” Huntington officials wrote in a statement. “Given the oil spill impacts, the decision was made by both the City and the State to close the ocean from the Pier all the way down to the Santa Ana River jetty.”

Initially, officials did not believe the oil would be bound for shore, according to a tweet by the City of Newport Beach. “The City is monitoring the large oil spill about 3-4 miles off the coast of Newport Beach,” the tweet reads. “The spill is expected to dissipate through wind, sun, and wave action and is not expected to come ashore. The City is prepared to protect the beaches and harbor should it become necessary.”

Cleanup contractors collect oil in plastic bags trying to stop further oil crude incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. One of the largest oil spills in recent Southern California history fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Cleanup contractors collect oil in plastic bags trying to stop further oil crude incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. One of the largest oil spills in recent Southern California history fouled popular beaches and killed wildlife while crews scrambled Sunday to contain the crude before it spread further into protected wetlands. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

At 11:57 p.m. the City of Newport beach sent out another tweet that updated expectations as officials realized the spill was headed towards the California coastline. “The large oil spill reported off the coast earlier today is now expected to come ashore in Newport Beach at some point tonight, at a location between Balboa Pier and CdM Main Beach,” the tweet reads. “A Unified Incident Command is established. at the Long Beach Emergency Operations Center.”

One area of concern regarding the spill is the wildlife that inhabits the surrounding area. Dead birds and fish have already washed up on the shore, according to the LA Times. The spill is poised to disrupt the ecology of Talbert Marsh near Huntington, according to KTLA. The outlet reports that oil has already seeped into the marsh, which is home to roughly 90 species of birds. 

Due to the potential health impacts on the public, the City of Huntington has decided to close the beach and cancel the final day of the Pacific Airshow on October 3. “In order to facilitate clean-up coordination efforts, and given the potential health impacts from the ongoing situation, the decision has been made by the City leadership to cancel the Pacific Airshow scheduled for Sunday, October 3, 2021,” Huntington officials wrote in a statement. 

“The City fully acknowledges the gravity of the decision to cancel the final day of the iconic Pacific Airshow, and the disappointment that this decision will cause,” the statement continued. “However, the need for prompt and intensive intervention effort requires complete and unfettered access to the Marine environment.”

“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,” explained Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr, according to the LA Times. “Rest assured that the team in Huntington Beach mobilized quickly, and we are proactively responding. We are doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our residents, our visitors, and our natural habitats.”

Orange County Rep Michelle Steel has requested President Biden to declare a major disaster in Orange County according to the LA Times. The representative requested the aid of the federal government in a letter. “It is imperative that the federal government assist in recovery efforts,” wrote Steel, according to the Times. “I have serious concerns about the environmental impacts of the spill and applaud the workers who are doing their best to prevent the oil from hitting sensitive wetlands.”

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