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The Huntington Oil Spill, What is it and how it can be Prevented

Updated: Dec 9, 2021

by Jasper Kallsen

On the morning of October 2nd, officials confirmed an oil spill off of Huntington Beach. The oil spill came from cracks in an underwater oil pipeline installed in 1980, which was owned by Amplify Energy, a Houston-based company. The cause of the leak is unknown to officials at this time. However, the combination of corrosion and an initial impact, perhaps from a ship’s anchor, may have contributed to the pipeline’s decay.

The oil spill has been an environmental and economic disaster due to its harm to wildlife and local communities. The Oiled Wildlife Care Network reported it affected 58 different species, including 80 birds harmed and about 30 birds killed. The cleanup continued for a week after the spill with an estimate between 25,000 gallons (ca. 95 m³) and 131,000 gallons (ca. 496 m³) of crude oil released into the Huntington Beach area. The spill was in a popular area that stretches from the Huntington Beach Pier down to Newport Beach.

In a news conference, the Mayor of Huntington Beach, Kim Carr, called the spill an “environmental catastrophe,” “potential ecological disaster,” and noted that “wetlands are being degraded and…[the] coastline is now covered in oil.”

Since the oil spill, various individuals have protested the continued offshore drilling and the passing of infrastructure bills currently being debated in Congress. On October 12th, ten days after the oil spill, protestors gathered outside of Representative Michelle Steel’s offices to support the Build Back Better Act. Protestors claim that Representative Steel has commonly voted against infrastructure bills and has gained money from offshore oil companies. The demonstration of support for the act comes as it works to provide funding for the National Forest System, education, weatherization projects, wildfire prevention, and climate change research. Supporters of the Build Back Better Act noted that it is just one of the necessary steps that politicians and citizens must take in order to prevent catastrophes similar to the oil spill of Huntington Beach from ever happening again.


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