Major oil spill off Southern Calif. coast kills wildlife, closes beaches

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Cleanup contractors deploy skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further oil crude incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Cleanup contractors deploy skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further oil crude incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Cleanup contractors deploy skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further oil crude incursion into the Wetlands Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

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UPDATED 8:41 AM PT – Monday, October 4, 2021

An oil spill off the Southern California coast is causing serious ecological impacts as a a major disaster declaration is requested for Orange County. Leaking around 3,000 barrels of crude oil or an estimated 126,000 gallons into the water, officials said the spill occurred after a pipe leak from an oil platform.

The oil slick was spotted over the weekend reaching the communities of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach as well as local marshes. Officials said cleaning up the spill is considered a high priority and are working to lessen any environmental impact.

“We’re working with the Coast Guard, the state, the county and all of our local conservancies to do everything possible to assess the situation,” stated Kim Carr, Mayor pro tempore for Huntington Beach.

Multiple beaches in the region have been closed or partially closed due to dead fish and birds washing up the coast as well as harmful fumes health officials say can be dangerous if inhaled.

“At this time I strongly recommend due to the possible injury from vapors fumes that people please do not swim, surf or use the beach for exercise,” cautioned Dr. Clayton Chau, an Orange County health official.

Officials said they will issue a public health order to warn those in beach towns about the potentially hazardous oils forming clusters ashore. Orange County locals were upset after the last day of the Pacific Air Show was cancelled in order for Marines to be able to begin clean up efforts. Approximately 1.5 million showed up for the event Saturday.

Barriers and booms were deployed to help prevent the inflow of oil into nearby ecological reserves and Huntington Beach wetlands. The offshore pipeline was shut down and is no longer leaking and an investigation into what caused the leak is ongoing.

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