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Beaches full of litter due to the oil spill. Photo: Pxfuel
Beaches full of litter due to the oil spill. Photo: Pxfuel

What's known about the oil spill in California

The spill off the coast of Huntington Beach has authorities concerned about serious environmental contamination

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On Saturday, Oct. 2, an oil spill was reported off the coast of Southern California as a result of some 3,000 barrels of oil or about 570,000 liters leaking from an offshore platform. It is one of the worst environmental disasters to hit the area in decades. 
 
"This oil spill represents one of the most devastating situations our community has faced in decades," Kim Carr, mayor of Huntington Beach, said at a news conference.
 
Following the massive spill, the major concern from the authorities has been the ecological impact to the region, as birds and fish began appearing dead on the coast due to the high degree of contamination. 
 
"Unfortunately, as a result of the spill, we are beginning to see fish and birds covered in crude oil that are washing up on our shores," added Carr, who confirmed that the company responsible for the leak is Beta Offshore. 
 
For her part, the spokeswoman for the Coast Guard in the Los Angeles and Long Beach area, Rebeca Ore, told the media that the oil slick is being closely monitored both with planes flying over the area and personnel on the coasts. Clean-up work is also in the process of being organized.
 
The CEO of Amplify Energy, the company in charge of Beta Offshore, Martyn Willsher, confirmed to the press that the company became aware of the leak on Saturday morning on the Elly offshore platform, and noted that he does not expect the number of barrels that have spilled to rise, as the reported 3,000 is the total capacity of the pipeline, which has already been shut down.
 
"We are fully committed to being here until this incident has come to an end. We are working with the California Coast Guard, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and numerous state agencies and local communities," Willsher said.
The anchor
The impact of an anchor is "one of several possibilities," Willsher said at a news conference on Monday, Oct. 4.
 
The director of the company that operates the pipeline noted that teams of divers have examined more than 8,000 feet of the pipeline and are concentrating on an area of great interest.
 
"We are investigating whether it could have been a ship's anchor, but at this point that is in the assessment phase," said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jeannie Shaye.
 
According to regulatory findings, Houston-based Amplify Energy has been cited 72 times for safety and environmental violations serious enough to curtail or suspend drilling.
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