The Austin-based energy company Amplify Energy Corp reported a leakage of oil from one of their pipelines leading to the shoreline of Huntington Beach, California at 8:55 am PST on Sunday. The spill was reportedly occurring for at least a day before, however, due to the fact that the spill was only first reported as a slick on the surface, it was not fully known if it was a spill or not until Sunday, when a team of divers sent out to inspect the many pipelines owned by Amplify Energy found a leak in one and reported it. The scale of the leak soon became apparent after more observations, and of current standing, is about 126,000 gallons of crude oil which was being piped from offshore oil platforms to the mainland for processing (the potential maximum of spilled oil was raised to 144,000 gallons later). After the discovery of the scale and amount of oil leaked from the pipeline, California governor Gavin Newson declared a state of emergency for Orange County to assist in containment and handling of the developing disaster.
Oil shown washed up on Huntington Beach, CA on Sunday. (Ringo H.W Chiu via AP)
Emergency crews were dispatched to the beaches surrounding the oil spill site to contain the disaster and attempt to limit its impact. The US Government has also launched several criminal and legal probes into Amplify Energy Corp, who were responsible for maintaining and overseeing the pipeline. “Federal and State criminal and civil investigations of the spill are underway,” said California Fish and Wildlife Department spokesperson Eric Laughlin. Many local and tourist destinations are preparing for an effect from the oil spill on this year’s tourist and surfing season. There have also been new, updated investigations into the possibility that a ship’s anchor caused the spill in the first place, as the area in which the oil pipeline was located is a large shipping traffic area, and said area has experienced delays and backups of shipping vessels recently. More is to come on this disaster as it develops.
Written by Shane Miller