Oil spill in California: State of emergency declared and criminal and civil investigations launched

The governor of California declared a state of emergency over the oil spill. Authorities announced criminal and civil investigations into...

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  • The governor of California declared a state of emergency over the oil spill.
  • Authorities announced criminal and civil investigations into the oil spill.
  • There are doubts about the Coast Guard’s response to the oil spill.

The governor of California, Gavin Newson, declared a state of emergency due to the huge oil spill on the south coast, in addition to announcing the beginning of criminal and civil investigations for the event that will cause serious consequences in the ecosystem.

The AP news agency reported early Tuesday, October 5, that Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Orange County, and ordered state agencies “to take immediate and aggressive actions to clean up and mitigate the effects” of the oil spill.

State of emergency declared due to oil spill in California

Photo: Getty Images

On Monday night, a state spokesperson also told USA Today that numerous government investigations have begun into the actions of the company involved in the incident and spill. “Full federal and state criminal and civil investigations into the spill are underway,” said Eric Laughlin, spokesman for the Oil Spill Prevention Response arm of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

According to AP, the records show that there was a slow response to the oil spill in California, which has left doubts about the actions of the competent agencies. In this sense, he explained that the United States Coast Guard received the first report about a possible spill on the south coast more than 12 hours before a company reported a major leak in its pipeline and clean-up work began.

Records ‘sow’ doubts about the actions of the Coast Guard in the face of the oil spill

The spill reports reviewed Monday by The Associated Press (AP) raise questions about the Coast Guard’s response to one of the largest oil spills in recent state history, as well as how quickly Amplify Energy, the A company that operates three platforms on the coast and the pipeline, acknowledged that it had a problem and notified the authorities.

The National Response Center, which is operated by the Coast Guard and notifies other disaster agencies for rapid response, received two early calls alerting them to the situation. The first was an anchored ship that noticed a stain on the water and the second, six hours later, from a federal agency that indicated that a possible oil slick had been detected in satellite images, according to reports from the Office of California Emergency Services cited by AP.

More than 500 thousand liters of heavy crude were thrown into the water

The spill dumped as much as 572,807 liters (126,000 gallons) of heavy crude into the ocean off Huntington Beach and then spread over kilometers (miles) of beach and a protected marsh. Beaches could be closed for weeks, or longer, a major setback for the local economy. Fishing areas on the coast are closed for commercial or recreational use.

Experts say it is too early to determine its full impact on the environment, but pointed out that at the moment the number of animals affected by the oil spill in California that have been found is minimal, the AP report said.

They investigate if the anchor of a ship unleashed the oil spill in California

oil spill in California
Oil floats on the surface of the water after a spill in Huntington Beach, California, on October 4, 2021. (AP Photo / Ringo HW Chiu)

Investigators are checking whether a ship’s anchor may have collided with the conduit on the ocean floor, Coast Guard officials said Monday, cited by AP and also by the Efe news agency.

Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher said company divers were inspecting the area of ​​the alleged leak reported on Saturday and by Tuesday he hoped to have a clearer picture of what caused the damage. According to Willsher, a freighter’s anchor strike is “one of several possibilities” behind the leak.

Coast Guard said it did not learn of the disaster until Saturday

Photo: Getty Images

Merchant ships entering the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach often pass through the incident area. The delays that have affected ports in recent months have forced several dozen large vessels to regularly anchor in that area while waiting their turn to enter the port and unload.

“We are investigating whether it could have been the anchor of a ship, but right now we are in the evaluation phase,” said Coast Guard Lt. Commander Jeannie Shaye, adding that the Coast Guard was not notified of the disaster until Saturday. the morning, although reports show that its hazardous waste hotline received the first notice of the possible leak on Friday night.

The company that operates the pipeline would have notified the Coast Guard hours before

The company that operates the pipeline first notified the Coast Guard response center of the oil spill at 8:55 a.m. on Saturday. However, the report said that the incident occurred at 02:30 in the morning.

Both federal and local authorities require spills to be reported quickly. Failure to comply with this requirement led to prosecutions against Plains All American Pipeline, which caused a spill near Santa Barbara in 2015, and against Southern California Gas Co. for a well explosion later that year, AP explained.

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