Temperatures in southern California rose Sunday, but Huntington’s coastline was devoid of umbrellas and beach blankets that often carried to the beach.
Instead, civil service workers worked tirelessly to stop the spread of an estimated 160 hundred tons of crude crude oil that came out of a submarine over the weekend in one of the worst losses in California’s past.
The loss is estimated to have started in a 17.5-mile pipeline 80-100ft below the surface from the Orange County coast. The pump is connected to an oil-generating platform called Elly, which is connected by a walkway to the hitting platform called Ellen. The platforms and a nearby platform are located in the waterfront and are maintained by the Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp.
People living and working in the area said they saw fuel oil and the smell of petrol on Friday night. The coast guard confirmed Saturday afternoon that slippery oil had been detected, and enacted a joint law. Amplify Energy Corp shut down the pump and platforms later that day. The company’s chief executive, Martyn Willsher, said the pump had been hijacked so no oil would come out.
By Sunday, boots had been taken over the water in an attempt to find fuel while others searched to find out exactly where and why the leak had occurred. The beaches were closed as crews rushed to find the animals injured by the oil and to keep them from falling out of harming any delayed garbage.
But residents, business owners and environmentalists questioned whether the authorities were quick to do so. “By the time we get to the beach, it has been seriously damaged. Our concern is that, it would have been avoided if there had been an immediate response,” said Garry Brown, president of the Orange County Coastkeeper environmental group.
The oil created a miles-wide sheen in the ocean and washed off the coast in sticky, black globules. By Sunday afternoon, thick smoke from the oil was pouring into the ocean air.
Oil is likely to continue to run off the coast for days, affecting Newport Beach and surrounding areas, officials said.
Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said local beaches named “Surf City” could remain closed for weeks or even months.
“In a year filled with unimaginable stress this oil spill is one of the worst situations our community has faced in decades,” Carr said. “We are doing everything we can to maintain health and protect our citizens, our visitors and our residences.”
The area affected by the current extinction is home to endangered and endangered animals, including the abundant snowy plover, the California small tern and the humpback whale.
The effect of the oil spill is enormous. Birds that get oil on their wings cannot fly, they can’t clean themselves and they can’t check their temperature, said Miyoko Sakashita, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s sea sea program. Whales, dolphins and other marine creatures can have difficulty breathing or dying after swimming in oil or breathing in toxic air, he said.
There were reports that some birds and fish had been caught in the garbage and died. A U.S. coast guard said that on Saturday afternoon there was only one duck covered in oil and they were receiving animal protection. “Other reports of oil-fueled wildlife are being investigated,” the agency said in a statement.
Huntington Beach resident David Rapchun said he was concerned about the environmental impact of his upbringing and the economy of the area.
“Given the amount of oil these products produce I don’t think they are dangerous,” Rapchun said. He asked if drilling for oil was a wise idea along with other clear beaches in southern California. “We want oil, but there’s always a question: do we need it then?” she said.
The recession comes 30 years after a major oil fall hit the same level on Alexander county coast. On February 7, 1990, an oil tanker flew over its anchor from Huntington Beach, dropping about 417,000 gallons (1.6m liters). As many as 3,400 fish and birds were killed.
In 2015, an explosive pipeline north of Santa Barbara sent 143,000 liters (541 313 liters) of crude oil to Reugio state beach.
In Huntington Beach on Sunday, Daniel Orr and Peter Boucher, two senior environmental scientists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, rushed to collect samples from an area marked by black light bulbs. Scientists have observed sand and water, and excavations have revealed that sand was still sliding under the swell.
“Our job is to learn how to dispose of waste and what it does,” said Orr, adding that it was still too early to tell how much water was wasted by the environment.