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Pipeline Leak causes major Oil Spill in California Beaches

According to the Los Angeles Times, an oil Pipeline exploded in the waters off Orange County, Southern California, spilling at least 126,000 gallons of petroleum into the Pacific Ocean. The 13-square-mile slick had already fouled the sands of Newport Beach and Huntington Beach by the time the sun rose on Sunday, leading local officials to ban a number of popular beaches to swimming and surfing. According to Neil Vigdor and Melina Delkic of the New York Times, dead fish and birds came ashore alongside the black, iridescent globs of petroleum as cleanup personnel rushed to limit the spill’s environmental harm.

“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,” says Orange County supervisor Katrina Foley. According to CNN’s Joe Sutton and Susannah Cullinane, the cause of the Pipeline leak is still unknown as of Monday morning, but Amplify Energy, the Houston-based fossil fuel company that owns the Pipeline, says employees noticed the leak on Saturday about three miles off shore and notified the US Coast Guard.

The Pipeline links to the Elly offshore oil platform. According to Louis Sahagun of the Los Angeles Times, oil has invaded a network of delicate coastal wetlands, including Talbert, Brookhurst, Newland, and Magnolia, that are considered essential wildlife habitat, however the real scope of the ecological calamity has yet to be revealed.

According to the Los Angeles Times, these wetlands are an essential stop for migratory birds going along the Pacific Flyway, which is a route travelled by birds migrating from North America to South America for the winter. Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr tells CNN that the city’s Talbert Marsh has been the target of long-term restoration efforts, adding insult to injury to the ecosystem.

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