Miles-long oil slick spotted off coast of Huntington Beach

David González Image
Sunday, March 10, 2024
Miles-long oil slick spotted off coast of Huntington Beach
A roughly 2.5-mile-long oil slick was spotted off the coast of Huntington Beach, but its source remained unclear.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A roughly 2.5-mile-long oil slick has been detected off the coast of Huntington Beach, but its source remained unclear.

The Coast Guard said Friday that the slick, which was initially detected Thursday night, is located about 2.8 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach. Officials say there were initial reports that the oil had possibly spilled from an offshore platform, but that has yet to be confirmed.

The Coast Guard is conducting aerial surveys to assess the size and potential impacts of the spill.

"They've sent out a barge and two skimmers so that they can contain the area and clean it up as soon as possible," said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley.

Amplify Energy Corp., the company that operates an underwater oil pipeline in Southern California, said the company "is aware of reports of an oil sheen."

"At this time, we have no indication that this sheen is related to our operations," the company said in a statement. "We will continue to cooperate with the U.S. Coast Guard and other relevant authorities and provide support in any way we can."

Foley says the source of the spill is not known at this time. But she wrote earlier on X, formerly Twitter, that crews were responding to the area. "Early thoughts are that it's from a platform," Foley wrote.

After a devastating oil spill in 2021 that shut down beaches, Foley says they're better prepared to handle similar situations.

"I think it's handled much better in the sense of early detection, early response, quick containment and all of the operations centers that are emergency related working together," she said, adding that there are no plans to close area beaches.

No oiled wildlife have been observed, but tar balls were seen littered across the sand at a dog beach in Huntington Beach.

The tar balls are causing some safety concerns among beachgoers, who say this is an another unfortunate incident and hope something can be done to protect the ocean and prevent future spills from taking place.

"I just wish we could do something about it, take more protective measures that this didn't happen all the time," said Keri Hostetler, who was visiting Huntington Beach Friday.

"I do wonder is there solutions that they could put in place so that they can monitor and find out immediately when a spill is happening," said Elaina Allen, another beachgoer.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's office released a statement about the incident.

"We are actively monitoring reports of an oil sheen near Huntington Beach," the statement said. "We have deployed personnel to evaluate the incident and will continue to coordinate with local, state and federal partners."

City News Service contributed to this report.