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Catastrophic California oil spill contaminates beaches; emergency declared in Orange county

Catastrophic California oil spill contaminates beaches; emergency declared in Orange county

Los Angeles: A massive oil spill was reported off California's beaches on Monday and dead birds and fish were washing up on the shores, Agence France-Presse reported. The spill amounts to a 126,000-gallon (approx. 572807. litres) slick of crude oil, which was reportedly spewed from a pipeline connected to an offshore rig.

Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday proclaimed a state of emergency in Southern California's Orange County to support the emergency response to the massive oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach., as reported by IANS.

"The state is moving to cut red tape and mobilize all available resources to protect public health and the environment," Xinhua news agency quoted Newsom as saying in a statement.

"As California continues to lead the nation in phasing out fossil fuels and combating the climate crisis, this incident serves as a reminder of the enormous cost fossil fuels have on our communities and the environment," he noted.

Los Angeles Times reported that the spill originated near the Elly Platform, one of the 23 oil and gas drill platforms in federal waters off California, built in 1980. A 24 km stretch of coastline was closed for the public, and fishing was ordered to stop. Crews are in haste to clean up the "environmental catastrophe"- as officials described the incident.

Huntingdon Beach Mayor, Kim Carr, warned that the beaches might remain closed for weeks or even months. She added that their wetlands were degraded, and the coastline was completely covered in oil.

The United States Coast Guard informed that three per cent of the spill had been recovered, and more than a mile of oil containment booms had been deployed. The US Coast Guard is coordinating the oil containment.

Huntington Beach identified the company responsible for the leak as Beta Offshore, a California subsidiary of Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp (AEC). The city administration said that they would ensure that AEC does everything possible to rectify this environmental catastrophe.

AEC responded that they had shut down all the production processes and pipeline operations at the Beta field as a precautionary measure. It is sending a remotely operated vehicle to find the source of the leak.

Officials warned people not to touch or try to save any wildlife but to call local authorities to alert them to animals affected by the oil.

The disaster has sparked a debate on the presence of oil rigs and pipelines near the coast of California. Many are raising their disagreement regarding it. Environmentalists have reiterated the harm this oil drilling poses as the infrastructure are rusty and poorly maintained.

Alan Lowenthal, a Democrat who represents the area, said that the spill would be devastating to marine wildlife and the ecosystem along with the livelihoods of coastal communities that depend on fishing, tourism and recreation.

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