Southern California, known for its beautiful beaches, coastlines, and surfing is currently experiencing a major ecological disaster. This comes in the form of an oil leak from a pipeline roughly four miles offshore. Currently, people who enjoy the beaches in these areas are being told to stay away as a result of the disaster.
The latest oil spill off Southern California is a reminder that fossil fuels threaten coasts, delicate wetlands, and human health https://t.co/HUbuRNmlmU
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) October 5, 2021
At the time of writing, the cause of the oil spill has not yet been ascertained, but some are speculating it may have been caused by a ship’s anchor. This could be a result of what Southern California is dealing with, a record number of container ships attempting to come through the Los Angeles-Long Beach Port. The ships are stuck in the waters outside the port waiting to unload their cargo. However, this is actively under investigation by the Coast Guard and has not yet been confirmed.
There's been plenty of discussion in the news recently about the dozens of merchant ships stuck waiting off of Long Beach/LA waiting to unload due to delays caused by various factors such as COVID, port capacity, container ship demand and size, etc. https://t.co/OzFPQvGnZx
— Thomas Shugart (@tshugart3) September 30, 2021
What we do know now is that the leak has sent an estimated 126,000 gallons of crude into the Pacific Ocean creating a slick that spanned about 8,320 acres. The spill appears to have come from the oil rig Platform Elly about 8.6 miles from land. The platform is owned by Beta, an oil operating company that has apparently been cited 125 times for safety and environmental violations since 1980, according to a database from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and Beta operates for its parent company Amplify Energy.
The company that owns the pipeline responsible for an oil spill off the California coastline has been cited by federal regulators for 125 violations, with more than a hundred of those citations being handed down in the last 11 years https://t.co/lCP64xyttw
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) October 4, 2021
Potential criminal investigations were being pursued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, the Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, officials said. Safety advocates have pushed for years for federal rules that would strengthen oil spill detection requirements and force companies to install valves that can automatically shut down the flow of crude in case of a leak. Unfortunately, the oil and pipeline industries have resisted such requirements because of the high cost.
Millions of tourists visit Southern California to experience its shoreline, beaches, and surfing. As a result, beach-related activities act as a strong driver for the local economy. However, right now, people told to stay away as beaches are closed off because of this environmental disaster are not seeing beauty. They are seeing dead fish, oil, and birds covered in it washing up onshore.
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The disaster could have long-term consequences. Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said the beaches of the community nicknamed “Surf City” could remain closed for weeks or even months. This is yet another reminder of how switching to renewable energy sources would be not just beneficial to the environment, but also the economy and people’s quality of life.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: Beach in Southern California. Featured Photo Credit: Abi Baurer