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Robust investigation, rigorous cleanup on California oil spill continue

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Oct 08, 2021 - 10:15 AM

MAYORS AND CITIES – Investigation continues to pin down the cause of the biggest oil spill in decades in Southern California, with the focus now on a cargo ship anchored near the pipe line before the oil was seen.

A video obtained by CNN showed a 13-inch slash in the pipeline which officials claim has spilled 144, 000 gallons of crude oil into the water.

The U.S. Coast Guard looks into the connection of the cargo ship on the pipeline’s tear as a marine navigation service said the sea transport has made a series of strange movements while anchored near the Amplify Energy’s pipeline.

In an interview with CNN’s “At This Hour” on Thursday, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D-CA), said that the Coast Guard is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to identify what really caused the spill.

She emphasized the importance of a “federally-driven” investigation, with the support of the state and local governments to get to the bottom of the matter.

“Oil production off of the California Coast has been steadily decreasing since its peak in the 1990s. We are very forward-leaning on combating climate change. I think for a lot of people, there is just astonishment. And, of course, it’s very upsetting to see this could still happen here in California,” she said.

Part of the investigation is the timing on the reporting of Amplify Energy to state and federal officials when the oil sheen was seen on the site.

Amplify Energy’s CEO Martyn Willsher has earlier said that there were delays on the communication as its instant response commander notified the agencies. “There was no lag in the communications from the time that we were aware that oil on water,” Willsher said.

“I think this is all part of the investigation and timing is a really important part of it. It’s not just when they were notified, but when they should have known that this was happening,” Kounalakis said.

Cleanup efforts

Volunteers and professional groups have started offering their service for cleaning up the spill, adding extra hands to the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

AFP reported that over 300 personnel were deployed in the emergency response to the environmental disaster.

“…with U.S. Fish and Wildlife, with the Coast Guard, with our volunteers, there will be hundreds, if not, over a thousand volunteers out there doing the work, and, of course, professional entities doing the work of cleaning this up as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Kounalakis said.

She cited the impact of the spill on the ecological and tourism aspects.

The spill sent dead fish and birds ashore while the 15-mile stretch of the affected coastline was closed to fishing activities.

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