HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) – Of the more than 80 oil-covered birds and fish which have been recovered since an oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach earlier this month, more than half have died, officials said Tuesday.
At least 73 oil-covered birds have been recovered so far, the Oiled Wildlife Care Network reported Tuesday. Forty-five of those died. Nine dead fish have also been recovered.
On the morning of Oct. 2, a rupture was reported to a pipeline owned by Amplify Energy in federal waters at the Elly oil-rig platform, about 4 1/2 miles offshore of Huntington Beach. The nearly 18-mile pipeline runs from Amplify’s offshore drilling platforms to a pump station in Long Beach.
Authorities initially estimated that as much as 144,000 gallons of oil may have leaked from the damaged pipeline, but officials later said the actual amount is likely much lower, although there is still no firm number. At a news conference last Thursday, U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Rebecca Ore estimated that roughly 588 barrels of oil had spilled, which would equate to about 24,700 gallons.
Attorney General Rob Bonta and Sen. Alex Padilla toured the site and received a briefing from Coast Guard officials Monday before Bonta announced his office is investigating the leak to determine if any civil or criminal action is warranted.
Although the leak occurred in federal waters, Bonta said his office had the authority to conduct civil or criminal probes.
“We represent multiple agencies and departments that have an interest such as parks and recreation, fish and wildlife, the coastal commission, state lands,” Bonta said.
City and state beaches in Huntington Beach reopened Monday morning. The move came after water-quality testing results showed non-detectable amounts of oil-associated toxins in ocean water.
The cleanup effort is being conducted by Unified Command, which includes the U.S. Coast Guard, Orange and San Diego counties, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Amplify Energy Corp. Contracted cleanup teams were cleaning locations from Seal Beach to San Onofre Beach, while officials were conducting water and soil sampling along San Onofre Beach.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)