According to records, the US Coast Guard got the first tip of a suspected oil spill off the coast of Southern California more than 12 hours before a corporation reported a significant pipeline breach and a cleanup effort was initiated. The Associated Press reviewed oil spill reports Monday that raised concerns about the Coast Guard response to one of the state’s most significant recent oil spills, as well as how quickly Amplify Energy, which operates three offshore platforms and the pipeline, recognized a problem and notified authorities.
The National Response Center, operated by the Coast Guard and alerts other agencies of disasters for a speedy response, received two early reports regarding the spill. According to the California Office of Emergency Services reports, the first came from an anchored ship that saw a sheen on the ocean. The second came six hours later from a government agency that stated a suspected oil slick was spotted on satellite imaging.
Up to 126,000 gallons (572,807 liters) of heavy oil were spilled into the ocean near Huntington Beach, where it washed up over kilometers of beaches and protected marshland. As a result, the beaches could be blocked for weeks or longer, causing significant economic damage to the area. In addition, commercial and recreational fishing is prohibited in the area’s coastal fisheries.
Orange County Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency, ordering state agencies to “take swift and vigorous action to clean up and minimise the effects” of the spill. Experts say it’s too soon to know the entire extent of the environmental impact, although the number of creatures found affected so far is small. Coast Guard authorities said Monday that they are investigating whether a ship’s anchor may have impacted a pipeline on the ocean floor.