Huntington Beach Oil Spill

Huntington Beach Oil Spill

Anna Odell, Staff Writer

A 13-inch split in an oil pipeline off the Orange County coast resulted in a massive oil spill on Saturday, Oct 2. 146,000 gallons of oil seeped out into the ocean, killing wildlife and compromising the fishing industry in California.

Although the Coast Guard is aware of the split in the pipeline, they aren’t sure what caused it. The current suspicion is that an anchor from a ship that was over the area might’ve been the cause. 

“There are too many ships, so they’re anchoring in places that are not designated,” John Konrad, a ship captain, stated. 

Unfortunately, this spill will require months of cleanup. The severity of the spill caused Governor Newsom to issue a state of emergency after it occurred because these kinds of events take a huge toll on the wildlife and industries in the affected area. It could take a very long time for the ecosystem to recover.

“Oil slicks kill marine algae called phytoplankton, for example, which can disrupt entire food chains,” said Vox.

Seabirds and small fish are the animals that are the most affected by this spill in the short term. The oil ruins their food sources and coats the birds’ feathers with oil which can cause them to become hypothermic. 

“If it doesn’t kill them, it’ll kill and poison their eggs, their babies,” said Sean Anderson, who is a part of the Environmental Science and Resource Management Program at Cal State Channel Islands. 

Volunteers are working together to rescue the affected animals in the area and get them cleaned up, but it’s impossible to save them all. Several of the species that live in the marshes of Huntington Beach are already threatened with extinction, and scientists are worried about the future of these animals and how they’ll survive this disaster. 

A lawsuit was filed against Amplify Energy who owns the pipeline because of how much damage was caused and because the company failed to prevent the spill. 

“The oil platform’s control room received low-pressure alarms on the San Pedro Bay Pipeline at around 2:30 a.m. PDT Saturday, indicating a possible failure. But the line was not shut down until 6:01 a.m.–3 and a half hours later,” said ABC News

As of right now, the beaches are still closed due to the spill, and thousands of people have been working to clean up the area. This cleanup will take much longer than just a few days and it will still seriously impact the environment. Locals are extremely concerned and upset by the devastation, and many others are worried about what this means for the affected ecosystems. 


Photo Courtesy of PIXNIO.COM