‘Major’ Oil Spill Off California Coast Threatens Wetlands and Wildlife

A pipeline failure off the coast of Orange County, Calif., on Saturday caused at least 126,000 gallons of oil to spill into the Pacific Ocean, creating a 13-square-mile slick that continued to grow on Sunday, officials said.

Dead fish and birds washed ashore in some places as cleanup crews raced to try to contain the spill, which created a slick that extended from Huntington Beach to Newport Beach.

It was not immediately clear what caused the leak, which officials said occurred three miles off the coast of Newport Beach and involved a failure in a 17.5-mile pipeline connected to an offshore oil platform called Elly that is operated by Beta Offshore.

The U.S. Coast Guard said in a statement Sunday night that crews had “recovered” about 3,150 gallons of oil. Fourteen boats were involved in the cleanup effort on Sunday, and crews had deployed 5,360 feet of boom, a floating barrier that helps contain oil.

The cleanup efforts were being led by the Coast Guard, while in Huntington Beach the local response was focused in part on “preventing an ecological disaster by mitigating the impacts of the oil on our precious wetlands and wildlife,” Ms. Carr said.

She said that “the responsible parties” to blame for the spill should “do everything possible to rectify this environmental catastrophe.” She added that officials were looking at measures “to make sure that they are held accountable for this.”

Environmental groups said that the spill underscored the need for the state of California to move away from fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy. Laura Deehan, the state director of Environment California, said in a statement on Sunday that the spill was “a stark and dark reminder that oil is dirty, dangerous, and can make our air and water too toxic for life.”

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