California Oil Spill


Associated Press

Oil can discolor the blue hue of the ocean.

On Oct. 6, 2021, a pipeline malfunction near the coast of Orange County caused a large oil spill throughout Huntington Beach, CA. This spill has contributed to the disruption in the health of California’s marine life and residents. A lot of people undermine the long lasting effects that oil spills have on the earth. Despite the lack of evidence of who caused this spill, many people that work in the oil industry are working towards developing new systems in order to reduce the chances of something similar happening.

The cause of this spill remains undetermined. According to NASA, investigations have found that the pipeline that ruptured was five miles offshore. It was not until Oct. 2 that Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, classified oil spills as a state emergency. The Associated Press News proposed that the pipeline was cracked prior to the explosion. They’ve stated that Coast Guard Capt. Jason Neubauer has the idea that the pipe progressively got worse as more ships’ anchors slashed the pipe. Images captured by NASA show how fast the oil spread throughout the shores.

Despite the guilty party remaining unknown, The Washington Post reported that the California Department of Agency has started searching for the reason as to why these spills continue to happen. Huntington beach closed for a little over a week before opening back up to the public. California’s clean up crew has been surprised to find less oil-covered birds than expected. Kim Carr, a mayor of Huntington Beach, was reported saying, “It is important that our decision to reopen our shoreline and water be based on data and that we continue to monitor the water quality going forward.” Many Huntington Beach residents are growing concerned with how this toxicity could affect their health. Theresa Harris, a retired naturalist, has said, “You’re only as healthy as your water supply, Calfironia’s water supply is very unhealthy right now.”

Currently many environmental activists are disputing because they believe that oil spills are not taken seriously enough. Deborah Sivas, an environmental law professor working at Stanford Law School, participated in a Q&A regarding the protection of this spill. She has said that, “We are already seeing damage to marine life, birds, and critical coastal wetlands along the Orange County coastline, moving south with the current.” This is because all of the oceans are connected, the oil does not stay in one place. Harris has supported this claim by stating, “There are not five oceans in the world, there’s only one ocean. Everything in the world ocean gets circulated around.” Though the oil industry claims to be making efforts towards safer pipe systems, the rate of oil spills does not coincide with this.

As the beach begins to open up again, many people working in the environmental field encourage others to take precautions when visiting this beach. Members of the California law enforcement have stated that they will be holding the party found guilty accountable by making them pay for the damage that they have caused. Harris has also described this spill as, “All human error.” As of now, Huntington Beach workers’ main priority is to reopen the beach safely.