- Dead fish and birds wash ashore along the coast of Southern California after an oil spill over the weekend.
- A pipe rupture located five miles from Huntington Beach spilled 126,000 gallons of oil in the Pacific Ocean.
- The oil could spell an ecological disaster as it seeps into vital reserves and terrain for local wildlife.
More than 125,000 gallons of oil spilled in the Pacific off the coast of Southern California, destroying ecosystems and causing dead wildlife to wash up on the coast.
The spill occurred after an underwater rupture in the pipeline about five miles off the coast of Huntington Beach on Sunday. The spill spread 13 square kilometers in the water, prompting city officials to close the beaches as the Coast Guard led clean-up efforts over the weekend to Monday.
“We are beginning to find dead birds and fish washing up on the shore,” Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said Sunday, citing a CNN report.
Foley added that the oil spill “has infiltrated the whole” of the area’s coastal wetlands, including Talbert Marsh, a crucial 25-acre ecological reserve “designed to refresh the wetlands with tidal currents required for their plants and animals to complete their life cycle.” reported the Los Angeles Times.
“These are wetlands that we have been working with the Army Corps of Engineers, with the Land Trust, with all the wildlife partners in the community to make sure to create this beautiful, natural habitat for decades,” Foley said. “And now in just one day it’s completely ruined.”
At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr called the spill “one of the most devastating situations our community has dealt with in decades.”
She added that the local response is focused on “preventing an ecological disaster by mitigating the impact of oil on our precious wetlands and wildlife,” according to a report by The New York Times.
Statens rep. Michelle Steele, a Republican representing Orange County, wrote a letter to President Joe Biden on Sunday, requesting a major disaster declaration for the county in light of the spill.
“Ingredients living along the coast are already reporting oil on the beach and strong odors,” Steele wrote in the letter. “Officials are already responding to protect marine life. Dead fish and birds are already being reported on beaches and coastlines.”
“I have serious concerns about the environmental impact of the spill and welcome the workers who are doing their best to prevent the oil from hitting sensitive wetlands,” she continued.