San Francisco: California Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday proclaimed a state of emergency in Southern California’s Orange County to support the emergency response to the massive oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach.
“The state is moving to cut red tape and mobilize all available resources to protect public health and the environment,” Xinhua news agency quoted Newsom as saying in a statement.
“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,” he noted.
According to the Governor’s proclamation, thousands of barrels of crude oil were released from a pipeline into the Pacific Ocean approximately 8 km off the coast of Huntington Beach in Orange County in federal waters.
The US Coast Guard initiated an emergency response effort to locate, confine and attempt to remove the oil from the water.
The oil release has impacted and continues to threaten the environment and marine life in the area.
Newsom noted that he has directed state agencies to undertake an immediate and aggressive action to clean up and mitigate the effects of the oil spill.
Officials said the spill, first reported on the morning of October 2, could have poured as much as 545,099 litres of oil into the ocean, creating a slick spanning about 8,320 acres.
The spill has left oil along long stretches of sand in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach and Huntington Beach, killing fish and birds and threatening wetlands.
Offshore drilling was restricted in California after a devastating 1969 oil spill off Santa Barbara, 150 km north of the Los Angeles downtown, that spewed an estimated 3 million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, creating a slick 35 miles long along California’s coast and killing thousands of birds, fish and sea mammals.