A massive oil spill off the California coast has not only cancelled the third day of the Pacific Airshow, but also prompted Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr to warn of a potential “environmental catastrophe.”
According to a statement from the city of Huntington Beach, 126,000 gallons of oil, in a slick plume nearly six nautical miles long, now lingers off the coast between Newport and Huntington Beach, “with substantial ecological impacts.”
In a letter to President Joseph R. Biden, 48th District Congresswoman Michelle Steel has asked for a major disaster declaration.
“I write today asking you to authorize a Major Disaster declaration for Orange County California following the oil spill that occurred of the coast of Huntington Beach on October 2, 2021. Officials have estimated that over 130,000 gallons of oil have leaked from an underwater pipeline. I request fast action in approving the Public Assistance and Individual Assistance for all the cities and counties in California that will be affected,” she wrote.
Congressman Alan Lowenthal, who represents the 47th District adjacent to Steel’s, also issued a statement.
“This oil spill off the coast of Orange County is as tragic as it was preventable. This environmental catastrophe highlights the simple fact that where you drill, you spill. As we are sadly witnessing, when you drill along the coast, when you pipe that oil ashore, our coastlines will bear the brunt of the impacts from such spills,” said Lowenthal.
“This will be devastating not only to our marine wildlife and ecosystem, but also to the livelihoods of our coastal communities which are built around fishing, tourism, and recreation. As long as these platforms and pipelines remain, our coastal communities remain under threat from potential disasters like we are now seeing,” he added.
Meanwhile, Carr said federal, state and local officials are coordinating mitigation and cleanup efforts along the coast.
“The US Coast Guard is the lead agency coordinating the response to the oil spill incident, and the investigation into how the spill occurred. Based on the most current information available, while the leak has not been completely stopped, preliminary patching has been completed to repair the oil spill site. Additional repair efforts will be attempted in the morning. As additional details become available from the US Coast Guard, we will pass that information along,” she said.
The ENE will continue to monitor the situation and will have a complete report in this week’s Event News Enterprise.