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Clean-up crews look for oil washing up near the pier in Huntington Beach, California, on Monday, as visitors returned to the beach. Photo: Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Image

The Coast Guard estimates that nearly 25,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled in an offshore pipeline leak in Southern California, AP reports.

Why it matters: The estimate is on the lower end of what officials initially feared when the state's Justice Department began investigating the massive oil spill off Orange County's Huntington Beach coastline. Officials originally thought the leak to be at least 25,000 gallons and no more than 132,000 gallons.

The big picture: The spill off Huntington Beach was originally confirmed Oct. 2 when Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said the result of thousands of gallons of oil leaking from an offshore oil rig was an "environmental catastrophe."

  • Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore said Thursday that the spill amounts to approximately 588 barrels, per AP.
  • “We really dodged a bullet,” Carr said, per the Los Angeles Times. “When you hear that thousands of gallons of oil has been released and is quickly approaching your shores you can’t help but think the worst.”

What's next: The cause of the spill remains under investigation, but Coast Guard officials said the oil came from a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy that was damaged by a ship's anchor.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 29, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Oil markets lurch on new COVID threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil prices have swung wildly in recent days as traders grapple with two uncertainties — the Omicron variant's impact and OPEC+ output plans.

Catch up fast: Oil plunged Friday on word of the new variant and travel restrictions, with U.S. prices falling 13% and the global benchmark Brent crude by just slightly less.

The front-runners for Biden's Supreme Court pick

Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson (left) and Justice Leondra Kruger (right) Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images and Lonnie Tague, US Department of Justice

Two highly accomplished Black female judges — Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; and Leondra Kruger, a justice on the California Supreme Court — are seen as the early front-runners to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The big picture: Jackson is a powerful federal judge with a record that progressives feel they can trust. Kruger was a highly regarded litigator and has carved out a reputation for working well with conservative judges.

Fed: Rate hikes are near

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve is on track to raise its main target interest rate in mid-March, as Chair Jerome Powell pledged to be "humble and nimble" in adapting policy to a fast-changing economy.

Why it matters: Fed leaders are looking to choke off inflation by raising interest rates in the near future, but keeping its options open for how fast and far the effort will go.

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