News/Op-Ed: Huntington Beach Oil Spill Leaves Many Questioning The Safety Of Our Beaches

by Andrew Fierro, Managing Editor

Early Saturday morning on October 2nd, it was announced that an oil spill mishap occurred in Huntington Beach California, which has since affected many coastal areas across California and left legal battles in its wake.

Photo by BBC News

Late Friday night, there were reports from offshore boaters in Orange County that they had smelt a petroleum like smell in the air and alerted the hazardous spill hotline soon after. The company at fault is Amplify Energy, and the amount of oil leaked is still in question.

Though there is not a confirmed set amount of oil leaked, the Coast Guard released that they estimate there was a leakage of between 25,000 and 132,000 gallons of oil.

Although initially thought to be extremely harmful to the environment, environmentalists have voiced their hope with new research pointing to the opposite, with the amount of animals being affected staying at a small amount.

Not only could there be an effect on the sea life, but as well as on human life, though the city officials for Huntington Beach have stated that the water quality will continue to be tested twice a week for at least two more weeks. 

Even with the research that points to a minimal amount of environmental damage, there will be no way of completely knowing the effect on the environment for a long period of time. With the researchers still learning more about the effects that these types of disasters have on the environments and animals, it will take time for them to fully understand what effects this specific event will have.

The cause of the oil spill is still under investigation, though. As of October 16th, it is now believed that a 1,200 foot cargo ship dragged its anchor, which ended up catching the pipeline pulling it across the ocean floor for a matter of months until a leak from the line occurred. The spill is still being investigated, as officials are still unaware of whether or not the impact is what caused the leak or if it was hit again after this occurrence. 

Though the Amplify Energy company has stated they are unaware of how much oil leaked exactly, legal officials question whether or not that is the case, as they believe that the calculations for the spill would not be hard to determine, so long as Amplify has all the data from the pipeline.

The oil from the pipeline burst has been reported across the shoreline, even having remnants all the way up to Carlsbad, which is located in San Diego County. This means that the radius of the spill seems to be large and the effect that will have on the environment will be more spread out.

There is high hope that the damages from this oil spill will be minimal, and with hard work from city officials and the Coast Guard, the cause of the oil spill will be determined and hopefully dealt with in order to avoid future problems and so the beaches can be open safely to the public.

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