• Matt Esnayra

CA Attorney General Bonta opens investigation into Orange County oil spill

Photo via the City of Huntington Beach

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced Monday that the California Department of Justice is investigating the massive oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach.

Why it matters:

Attorney General Bonta called the spill “ an environmental disaster with far-reaching consequences for our fish and wildlife, for our communities, and for our economy.”

🛢️:How did we get here:

The US Coast Guard says a pipeline operated by Amplify Energy leaked at least about 25,000 gallons and no more than 132,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean, per the AP.

  • ⚓: The AP reported that a cargo ship's anchor caught the underwater pipeline which caused the leak, but the Coast Guard didn't investigate the incident for nearly 10 hours.

  • 👷‍♂️: 1,400 plus workers, dressed in hazmat suits and armed with sifting nets, spread out over Orange County's shoreline and nearby wetlands.

  • 🍊:Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley told the LA Times that beachcombers have found 14 barrels of tar balls and a quarter-million pounds of greasy sand and debris.

The latest:

⛱️: Huntington Beach and California State Parks reopened both City and State beaches on Monday.

  • “The joint decision to reopen comes after coastal ocean and wetlands water quality testing results showed non-detectable amounts of oil associated toxins in our ocean water,” the statement read.

  • "The only location where oil was detected was a non-toxic level located in the water just north of Warner Avenue."

  • Officials warns beachgoers "to avoid areas where an oil smell is present," and "expect to see oiled materials and tar balls wash up on the beach, and individuals are advised not to handle or ingest any oil materials."

Keep this in mind: According to the Los Angeles Times, Bonta has yet to define whether the investigation is criminal or civil.

What they’re saying:

US Senator Padilla says in a statement, "It is unacceptable that Californians are once again facing the devastating effects of an offshore oil spill," and “The trade-off between oil production and environmental harm is simply not one we should be making any longer, especially given how fossil fuel emissions are exacerbating the climate crisis."

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