An oil leak five miles off the coast of Huntington Beach, California, spilled 3,000 barrels of oil into the Pacific Ocean, and severe weather is expected to exacerbate the situation.
According to Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr, the oil leak is "one of the most catastrophic crises our town has faced within decades."
According to CNN, the incident originated from a 17-mile pipeline operated by Houston-based business Amplify Energy and resulted in roughly 126,000 gallons of post-production crude oil pouring into the ocean.
In a news conference on Sunday, officials claimed the leakage appeared to have stopped, and Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher said the firm does not expect any more oil to flow after suctioning the pipeline at both ends.
Oil, sea life like fish and dead birds have been washing up on beaches around Southern California since the oil leak began.
According to a news statement issued late Sunday night by the United States Coast Guard, 3,150 gallons of oil have been retrieved from the water due to cleanup activities. As a result, president Joe Biden has been asked to declare the oil leak a national disaster.
The Los Angeles Times reported that oil has begun to leak into the Talbert Marsh, a 25-acre wetland in Huntington Beach.
On Sunday, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley issued a warning to people not to go swimming, surfing, or exercising at the beach. She also advised against fishing since it is dangerous.
Crews and volunteers from all around Southern California have already begun cleaning up the oil. Scott White was one of the first volunteers to start cleaning up the beaches.
While removing oil-filled sand from the beach, White told The Associated Press, "I think we need to come out and get this oil out of here because it damages the ecosystem very, very terribly."
With a bucket in hand, he strolled along the beach, filling it with oil-contaminated sand. White told the Associated Press that he intends to transport as much sand as possible to a disposal facility.
"I'm simply picking up the oil," he explained. "You know, it's just awful. It's a disaster."
While removing oil-filled sand from the beach, White told The Associated Press, "I believe we need to come out and get this oil out of here because it damages the ecosystem very, very terribly."
He filled a pail with oil-contaminated sand as he went along the beach. According to the Associated Press, White intends to transport as much sand as he can to a landfill.
He explained, "I'm simply picking up the oil." "You know, it's simply bad." "It's awful."
Contractors in boats, in addition to the volunteers, put skimmers and booms into the ocean as barriers to prevent any further oil from leaking into the Talbert Marsh wetlands. On Sunday, the contractors used plastic bags to collect the oil accumulated on top of the water.
Incoming Storm Causing Trouble
An approaching storm, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert, might hinder cleanup operations.
"This is mostly an upper-level storm that will be moving ashore and bringing just scattered showers to the LA Basin region," he explained. "However, starting Monday and continuing into Tuesday, it will certainly bring some larger seas into the region."
The storm is expected to come ashore late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, then continue eastward all day Tuesday. Weather conditions in the area are predicted to improve by Wednesday, although stormy weather scheduled to begin the week might hamper cleaning operations near Huntington Beach.
"The higher swells may likely shift the oil spill even further, increasing its extent and complicating any cleanup efforts," Reppert said.
Stormy weather might return to the area by the end of the week or next weekend.
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