Oil Spill Reported Off Huntington Beach Coast

Oil Spill Reported Off Huntington Beach Coast

Oil platforms off Southern California on Oct. 6, 2021. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

3/8/2024

Updated: 3/10/2024

A roughly 2.5-mile-long oil sheen was reported off the coast of Huntington Beach, prompting an investigation into potential hazardous materials March 8.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the slick was nearly 3 miles off the coast, near oil platforms named “Emmy” and “Eva.”
“The Coast Guard is contacting all potential spill sources in the area, but no source has been identified,” the agency said in a statement Friday.
The spill was first reported around 7 p.m. March 7, but crews were not able to immediately investigate due to darkness, the agency said.
Coast Guard Pollution Responders, accompanied by a Newport Harbor Patrol boat, however, were dispatched at 6:30 a.m. to investigate. Additionally, a helicopter conducted an overflight in the area after sunrise, according to the statement.
Upon investigation, responders discovered an oil sheen spanning 2.5 miles in length and 0.5 miles in width, the agency said.
An oil sheen on the ocean off the coast of Huntington Beach, Calif., on March 8, 2024. (Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Brahm/U.S. Coast Guard via The Epoch Times)

An oil sheen on the ocean off the coast of Huntington Beach, Calif., on March 8, 2024. (Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Brahm/U.S. Coast Guard via The Epoch Times)

Local authorities quickly responded to clean up the spill.
“An overflight on the morning of March 9 did not observe any remaining recoverable sheen. Tar balls were observed along the shoreline in Huntington Beach, and onshore recovery teams will assess the shoreline and remove them as needed,” the agency said.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Richard Brahm told the Orange County Register that while the slick could have been due to an oil spill, it could also be natural seepage. He added that no potential spills from tankers or oil wells have been reported.
However, NBC Los Angeles reported that investigators from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services filed a hazardous materials spill report, outlining an overflow of petroleum originating from an offshore platform owned by Beta Offshore.
The company, which manages three oil platforms in federal waters off the Long Beach coast, promptly halted operations upon receiving the report and dispatched a vessel to investigate, NBC Los Angeles reported.
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley posted earlier on X that crews were responding to the area. The City of Huntington Beach did not respond to an immediate request for comment.
In an update Saturday, the Coast Guard said an oil platform had discharged “produced water” on March 8, but “the characteristics of the produced water from Platform Elly do not align with what was observed from the sheen. At this time, we do not believe the sheen and the discharge are related.”
As of 10 a.m. on March 9, three live birds were captured that were “visibly oiled,” said the agency.
The public is urged to not approach impacted animals if spotted and to contact the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at (877) 823-6926.
This marks the region’s second recent potential oil spill incident.
In 2021, 25,000 gallons of crude oil leaked into the ocean miles off the Huntington Beach coast, causing environmental damage and economic losses. The incident occurred after anchors from two container ships caught an underwater oil pipeline during a storm, weakening it and leading to a rupture months later.
That spill resulted in numerous lawsuits, millions of dollars in settlements, and fines imposed on pipeline owner Amplify Energy Corp.
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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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