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Governor Newsom Declares Huntington Beach Oil Spill As State of Emergency

Declaration comes only hours after it was revealed that state knew of spill a day before it being officially reported

By Evan Symon, October 5, 2021 11:19 am

Governor Newsom declared the Huntington Beach oil spill as a state of emergency late on Monday as cleanup efforts continue along large stretches of beaches in Orange County.

The Huntington Beach spill began sometime on Friday according to several federal and state officials when an underwater pipeline connected the Port of Long Beach to the Ellen and Elly oil production and drilling platforms ruptured. Although the cause of the rupture is still being investigated by multiple agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, the most popular theory as of Tuesday is that a boat’s anchor struck the pipeline.

According to new data revealed by the Los Angeles Times late on Monday, the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, a division of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, had reports of a forming oil slick that Friday night, but due to the darkness of the night, neither California nor Federal workers could get out there to confirm until Saturday morning. The Coast Guard did confirm by Saturday afternoon, with Amplify Energy, the owners of the platform, shutting down production later that day.

Throughout Sunday and Monday, oil began coming ashore on Huntington Beach, with several other local cities also adding restrictions due to spill concerns. Several events, such as the Pacific Airshow, were also cancelled due to the worsening conditions. In total, officials estimate that around 3,000 barrels or 126,000 gallons, of post-production crude oil seeped out, with cleanup likely to take weeks and possibly months along a large swath of Northern Orange County beaches.

This led to Governor Newsom declaring a state of emergency on Monday, adding that the spill showed the dangers of being reliant on fossil fuels in California.

“The state is moving to cut red tape and mobilize all available resources to protect public health and the environment,” said Governor Newsom on Monday. “As California continues to lead the nation in phasing out fossil fuels and combating the climate crisis, this incident serves as a reminder of the enormous cost fossil fuels have on our communities and the environment.”

Other lawmakers, such as Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi (D-Rolling Hills Estates), called for a more drastic measure of shutting down all offshore production on Tuesday, showing the deepening divide politically over the drilling issue that the spill has caused.

Even with spill, production expected to continue for quite some time

Many utility experts have said that, even with the oil spill and state of emergency being declared, oil production would likely still continue in the area in the near future.

Huntington Beach in 1928 (Photo:https://huntingtonbeachca.gov/about/history/)

“Huntington Beach has had a long history of oil production,” said Ed H. Stevens, an Orange County oil executive whose family has been involved in oil production in California for nearly a century. “My family moved out here in the 1920’s when the big California boom was on. It can be shocking now to see, but Huntington Beach was once lined with oil wells and derricks as far as the eye could see, and that spills were a regular things. Drive along the PCH and you’ll still see beach names associated with oil or petroleum.”

“Things have improved drastically since then, but, even as California is going away from oil, it is still a huge factor here. And the thing is, it will still be needed even with cars needing it or it being used for energy. Aviation fuel, kerosene, plastics, the list goes on of things that can’t be made without it that have no present alternative.”

“Companies should be held accountable and we need to do everything to stop these leaks. But it all comes down to is that people still need oil, they don’t want to pay more for gas, so production will continue where there is still oil to be found. The platforms wouldn’t still be operating if there wasn’t demand, and an oil spill is one of those risks taken to help keep oil flowing in. It’s not a black and white issue. It’s simply a need.”

Cleanup on the affected Orange County beaches are expected to continue on throughout the month, with a cause of the spill likely to be announced soon.

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Evan Symon
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10 thoughts on “Governor Newsom Declares Huntington Beach Oil Spill As State of Emergency

  1. Great. So is he going to use this new state of emergency to continue his dictatorship? Shut down all automobile traffic and other activities that use any derivative from oil until the government finds a solution to the problem….
    Good freaking grief.

  2. They are too obvious-jumping at the chance to close down offshore oil just as they live for the next school shooting tragedy to take away citizens right to properly defend oneself against a criminal.
    The actual facts of this case are not established yet. Anchor damage should be the first consideration. The number of ships stalled-in that exact spot!-is un-precedented. Look at any live cam of HB pier and notice the ships parking out there for the past months because of “covid”. Huntington beach ca dot gov. Also look at a cool website: marine traffic dot com and we can see the ships sitting there this minute and all about each one. Are they dragging anchors too? What ships were there when this occured Friday when the first reports of an oil slick was reported? Where are those ships now? Why didn’t one of them report this?……

    Article: from Oil & Gas Journal article, September 9, 2002; “FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN EVALUATING DAMAGE ON PIPELINES”
    Encroachment Damage
    Examples of encroachment damage are shown in Figure 1. Common causes include contact
    from excavators, graders, ditchers, plows, directional drillers, and just about any other sort of
    equipment used to penetrate or move soil. General excavation is the most common source of
    damage, but everything from roadwork to farming has caused incidents, including the pipeline
    operator or his contractors hitting his own line. Offshore, encroachment damage arises from
    contact by ship keels and anchors.
    Two aspects of encroachment damage interact to render the combined defects particularly
    serious for pipelines:
    ß metallurgical damage in the scrape or gouge, and
    ß rerounding of the dent under the influence of internal pressure.
    Metallurgical damage occurs where the striking object contacts and slides along the pipeline
    surface. Visually, the damage appears as a scrape or gouge, and might not look very severe. But
    within the scrape or gouge, plastic flow, metal transfer, and even remelting due to the heat of
    friction would have occurred at the contact point. For some depth below that, the microstructure
    is crushed and severely cold-worked, locally degrading the ductility and toughness. This type of
    damage is evident in a cross section at the root of a gouge.

  3. I was being hyperbolic in an earlier speculation, but now after all this hysteria, “state of emergency,” “banning all offshore drilling,” etc., by the usual suspects, I’d be less surprised than ever to learn that Newsom’s henchmen had something to do with this spill. Either that or it’s more “never let what isn’t even a crisis go to waste.” Or rather, scream hysterically that it is a crisis, engage in total overkill, and then “don’t let the theatrical crisis you created go to waste.” Gee, you think I’m the only one who is WAY beyond fed up and done with these people? Noooo..

  4. This “emergency” is caused by his “State of Emergency” and the devastating policies he has enacted!
    Oh the irony, let’s count they ways:
    1. Signing AB5 into law effecting independent truckers.
    2. Forcing trucks to convert from diesel to gas under 2020 CARB regulations, which forced some truckers to leave the profession and the state.
    3. 13 months of lockdowns due to his Emergency Powers!
    4. Months of EDD pay outs which incentivized workers to stay home and not work also effecting the supply chain, due to labor shortage.

    Newsolini is a one man wrecking machine. The guy who wants to control how much oil, gas, water and food we consume has contributed to some of this state’s current catastrophes.
    Forget climate change policy we need leadership change!
    Whether the oil slick is from a leaky ship or a ruptured pipeline hit by an anchor, it is related to his poor governing.

    These events do not affect Californians alone but the entire United States. It reduces goods and services. It contributes to the high inflation we are experiencing.

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