California Oil Spill Could Shut Beaches Down for Months

by Quentin Blount

A California oil spill over the weekend is putting the local environment at risk. Beaches are expected to be down for months and wildlife in the area is in jeopardy.

Thanks to a leak from the break in a rig, at least 126,000 gallons of oil were released into the ocean on Saturday. And now, that oil has begun washing up onshore.

It’s hard to know just how bad this oil spill really is. As a matter of fact, the full extent of the spill probably won’t be known for a month if not more. But it likely won’t be quite as bad as some of the largest spills in U.S. history like the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill or the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Either way, the potential harm to both wildlife and nearby human residents is a cause for concern. Shelley Luce, the CEO of Heal the Bay, explained as much in a recent interview with KTLA.

“We already have reports of dolphins being seen swimming through the oil slick. They can’t get away from it quickly. And now it has reached land,” Luce explained. “This is a toxic spill. And many, many animals are going to die. And many more than we can count, because they will occur at sea.”

According to officials who are investigating the spill, there is a 5.8-mile oil plume running from Huntington Beach Pier to Newport beach. And it is an astounding 13 square miles in size. An estimate shows it to be one of the biggest spills ever in the state of California. Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher said during a Sunday news conference that the 126,000 gallons of oil lost will be the final number. That is how much the entire pipeline was holding.

“I don’t expect it to be more,” she said. “That’s the capacity of the entire pipeline.”

California Oil Spill Now Washing Up Onshore

As the California oil spill has continued to develop, it’s now making its way back to shore. It originally occurred about five miles off of the coast of Huntington Beach in Orange County. Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley tweeted earlier explaining just that. She also notes that the first wave of dead animals is starting to turn up as well.

“Oil has washed up now onto the HB (Hunting Beach) beachfront,” Foley said. “We’ve started to find dead birds and fish washing up on the shore.”

As a result of all of this, the California oil spill has coated nearby areas with oil. That has left beaches shut down, wildlife habitats at risk, and people at risk as well. Enforcement authorities tell residents that they should expect the nearby beaches to be down for at least a couple of months due to the significant environmental impact.