featured graphic for Katrina Foley, 2nd District Supervisor for the County of Orange, California., after COVID-19

Supervisor Foley releases statement on the coastal oil spill off Huntington Beach

In response to the oil spill off Huntington Beach, the U.S. Coast Guard, California state officials, Orange County Harbor Patrol and Huntington Beach Marine Safety Division responded to reports of an oil spill approximately 13 square miles in size, located about three miles from the Newport Beach coast. The oil spilled approximately 126,000 gallons of oil. Cause of the spill is still under investigation, but the responsible parties are cooperating with the U.S. Coast Guard and the incident management team to repair the leak, clean up the spill, and protect the environment from greater impacts.

Supervisor Katrina Foley issued the following statement regarding the oil spill: “We are deeply concerned by this weekend’s major oil spill along our beautiful Orange County coastline. The ramifications will extend further than the visible oil and odor that our residents are dealing with at the moment. The impact to the environment is irreversible. We must identify the cause of the spill, and for the greater good of our cities, beaches, and coastal ecological habitat we need to understand how to prevent these incidences moving forward. Our beaches are an integral part of our culture and economy, popular tourist destinations, and a California staple. Our office is fully committed to supporting the coastal cities and will continue working to ensure our residents remain updated as developments continue to progress.”

As of Sunday, a total of 3,150 gallons of oily water mixture have been recovered, nine boats were dispatched for oil spill recovery operations, three shoreline assessment teams dispatched and 3,700 feet of boom deployed.

The health and safety of our community is the primary concern of our office and residents are advised to avoid impacted beaches and wetlands.

Beaches are closed starting at Seapoint Drive south in Huntington Beach to the Santa Ana River Jetty-Newport Beach. Newport Beach has a soft closure and requests that the public stay out of the water from Tower 44 north to the Santa Ana River. The Pacific Air Show was cancelled.

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network has been activated. For your safety and the safety of the animals, the public is asked to not attempt to capture oiled animals. Report oiled wildlife to 1-877-UCD-OWCN (1-877-823-6926).

Latest Developments:

  • Supervisor Foley participated in a press conference held in Long Beach this afternoon in conjunction with the Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (CDFW-OSPR), Amplify Energy, as well as local officials from Huntington Beach and Newport Beach to provide an update on mitigation efforts. The press conference can be viewed here. (Courtesy of ABC7)
  • The Orange County Health Care Agency issued a health advisory for residents exposed to oil contaminants.
  • The Orange County Emergency Operations was activated today. That advisory is attached.
    Supervisor Foley joined other representatives for an aerial tour and update by the U.S. Coast Guard where the oil appeared to move south toward Laguna Beach.
  • The oil impacts in Huntington Beach are becoming slightly more acute — we have seen an increasing amount of oil washing onto shore.
  • There has been a significant amount of ecological impact, including the loss of birds & fish which have been reported as washing up onto shore.
  • The United States Coast Guard has been working closely with us on the clean-up, and the Incident Management Team (IMT) has deployed a “SCAT” team in Huntington Beach.
  • Huntington State Beach has issued closure orders, closing the ocean and shorelines in HB from Seapoint to the North, and all the way down south to the Santa Ana River Jetty at Newport Beach. Newport Beach has closed the ocean to swimming and surfing at Tower 44 and Crystal Cove, however the beach remains open at this time.
    Residents are advised to avoid exercising, swimming, surfing, fishing or walking their dogs near the impacted beaches and wetlands for the time being.
  • A claims number has been established for any individuals or businesses who feel they may have been affected by the incident (866) 985-8366 and reference Pipeline P00547.
  • Beach clean-up crews deployed in Huntington Beach starting at around 3pm today.
  • The IMT sent 3 skimming boat teams to work off the coast of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach today and they removed around approximately 3,150 gallons of oil from the ocean environment off the coast.
  • The City of Huntington Beach spent time reinforcing the 2,050 feet of protective booms that we’ve deployed at 7 different sensitive wetland locations. State Senator Tom Umberg and I met with Captain Ore and requested additional booms to protect Bolsa Chica Wetlands and those resources will be arriving.
  • The Orange County Public Works Department stood up berms to protect the Talbert Channel from sea water intrusion and continues to work with the IMT and City of Huntington Beach to address needs.
  • As the recovery and clean-up efforts continue through this evening, I spoke with Captain Ore of the Coast Guard and we discussed the growing concern about the oil spill impacting Laguna Beach, given how the current plume is being pushed around by current surf and wind conditions. We observed the presence ribbons or threads of oil clustering and moving south toward Laguna Beach while on flight with the Coast Guard touring the area this afternoon. I’ve reached out to Mayor Whelan of Huntington Beach and Supervisor Bartlett to update them.
  • At 4pm, the Orange County Emergency Operations Center was activated in response to Pipeline P00547 and will remain activated from 8am to 7pm daily until further notice. All resources and support personnel are at the ready to mobilize when needed.

“I want to thank all of our community members who have offered their support and assistance to restore our beautiful coast. Although it is not yet safe to begin volunteer clean-up efforts, our office is asking residents interested in assisting with these efforts to send an email to [email protected] and our office will notify you of volunteer activities when it is safe to begin.”

This article was released by the Office of Supervisor Katrina Foley.