Oct 4, 2021 - Energy & Environment

California oil spill may close beaches for months

Oil and sea water collect in a tide pool in Newport Beach, Calif. on Oct. 3, 2021. Photo: Michael Heiman/Getty Images
Oil and sea water collect in a tidepool in Newport Beach, California, on Oct. 3. Photo: Michael Heiman/Getty Images

One of the largest oil spills in recent California history has contaminated a swath of popular beaches south of Long Beach, including Huntington Beach.

Driving the news: The spill of as many as 126,000 gallons of crude oil, which is thought to have emanated from a leaking pipeline about 4.5 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach, was detected Saturday.

The latest: Oil began washing up on beaches by early Sunday, and closures may expand and last for months.

  • As of Sunday evening, 3,150 gallons of oil have been recovered from the spill area, the Coast Guard said.
  • The pipeline from which it leaked has been shut off, Martyn Willsher, CEO of Houston-based Amplify Energy Corp., which owns the pipeline, told the AP.
  • The leaking pipeline connects to oil production and drilling platforms, the AP reports, both of which are in federal waters.
  • The full scope of wildlife impacts is not yet fully known.

The big picture: A host of extreme weather events amplified by climate change have battered California in recent months, from record heat to some of the largest wildfires in state history.

  • For some residents, the spill is just another reminder of how California is ground zero for climate change.
  • Wildfire photographer Stuart Palley captured this in an Instagram post: "The forests of my childhood have burned, and now the beaches from youth are covered in oil."

Go deeper: Major oil spill reaches California beaches, killing wildlife

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