A massive oil spill devastating Southern California wreaked havoc on the cities in the first week of October. Its unfortunate aftermath is seeping into this week; crowds of people are scrambling to rid the South Bay of 13 miles of oil.
The mistake happened a mere 4.5 miles from the shore. Kim Carr, Mayor of Huntington Beach, reported, “We are in the midst of a political ecological disaster.” Amplify Energy, the company owning the pipeline which went awry, jumped to cut off the pipe and suction all of the oil released into the sea. The minimum estimate starts at 126,000 gallons of oil spilt.
Officials have been placing over 2,000 feet of protected barriers to halt any further detrimental incidents. Some beaches have even been closed indefinitely; the whole shift from closed beaches to open ones due to COVID-19 was a hard hit to SoCal residents. Now, not only are the people impacted due to the closings, but also are the wildlife and the ocean itself.
Lane Stoddard, one resident from Manhattan Beach, CA, spoke of how impactful this was on the community last week. “It hit everyone super hard; we heard about it at lunch, in passing, and even had conversations about it in class. I went home, and it was on the news”. It hints at a sort of unity within SoCal and those affected by this tragedy. Her statement not only resonates with thousands yet speaks for the majority of the South Bay’s takes on what happened.
A truly tragic happening, this has devastated more than only the South Bay. All the way in Texas, Ava Mychel Rodriguez said, “This is really unfortunate and devastating for ecological system near Huntington Beach”. A seemingly similar statement to that of Mayor Carr, Mychel highlights that everyone is yearning to push this disastrous happening behind us.
“When I heard about the spill, my first concern was for the animals in the ocean and how devastating this must be for the communities in the surrounding areas,” Piper Rutherford ‘22 said.
Rutherford’s input regarding aquatic life seems to be a popular grief amongst South Bay residents. It is seen that many locals are attempting to aid in assisting wildlife, including on shore animals, with their safety.
The Coast Guard has been attempting to add booms, which are similar to cords that are oil resistant, all-over Huntington Beach. Clean-up groups have even resorted to taking sand from the shore and adding it into the ocean to create a barrier that they hope blocks the oil spill from spreading any further.
People seem to be pointing fingers as to who’s responsible for this issue. Environmentalists believe the federal powers are to blame. These empowered people have been attempting to shed light on the little-to-no regulations and oversight that the government places on oil companies.
Others believe there should not be the question of whom to blame, but rather what to blame. The 13-inch pipeline tear seems to be the culprit. “The pipeline has. . . been pulled like a bow string. And so, at its widest point is about 105 feet away from where it was. So, it is kind of an almost a semicircle,” said Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher during a news/info conference.
Animals and humans alike will be feeling the repercussion of this situation for quite a while. Over 25,000 whole gallons were spilled. With the water off limits, the animals dying off, and the humans drowned in anger and frustration, officials scramble to fix this issue as quickly as possible. President Biden even touched on the subject just as Californian Gov. Newsom did. The President is attempting to do his part just as the locals do theirs. It is truly a united effort.