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Oil washed up on Huntington Beach, California, after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on Sunday. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Crews were working into the night to contain a major oil spill that reached Southern California beaches and spread into wetlands Sunday, killing fish and birds.

The latest: Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr told reporters the result of thousands of gallons of oil leaking from an offshore oil rig was an "environmental catastrophe."

  • As of Sunday night, 3,150 gallons of "oily water mixture" was recovered from the spill area, according to according to a statement from Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley.
  • Fisheries in the impacted area were closed to allow investigators to examine the impact on fish, Foley said just before midnight local time. Several beaches along the California coast were closed earlier, per a U.S. Coast Guard statement.

Of note: The pipeline from which the crude oil leaked was shut off Sunday, Martyn Willsher, CEO of Amplify Energy, which owns the facility, confirmed late Sunday to AP. All remaining oil in the pipeline was suctioned out, he added.

The big picture: The oil slick is estimated to be about 13 square miles in size, the Coast Guard. The spill is believed to have resulted from a pipeline leak that dumped 126,000 gallons, or 3,000 barrels, into the waters, per the Los Angeles Times.

  • Lifeguards have reported smelling oil odors throughout the affected beaches, according to Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley.
  • Foley noted the ecological effects of the spill were already evident, saying "we've started to find dead birds and fish washing up on the shore."

Threat level: Foley warned in a statement: "The ramifications will extend further than the visible oil and odor that our residents are dealing with ... the impact to the environment is irreversible."

  • "All agencies, including environmental and wildlife, are working together to mitigate the damage," she added.
  • Jennifer Carey, a Huntington Beach spokesperson, told the Los Angeles Times: "We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the spill and recovery efforts.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 18, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Visualizing oil's economic footprint in Texas

Data: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Note: A very small amount of the totals reflect mining activity; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Oil and gas production is a key part of the Texas economy. But the state is poised to perform well even if tackling global warming sends the sector into decline, a Dallas Fed analysis argues.

The big picture: Energy price swings have long affected Texas' financial fortunes, with sharp declines "depressing broader activity."

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.

Oklahoma Supreme Court temporarily blocks abortion restrictions

A pro-choice activist demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked three abortion restrictions set to take effect on Nov. 1.

Why it matters: The laws would place new limits on medication-induced abortions and require doctors who perform abortions to attain board certification in obstetrics and gynecology.

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