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Environment

Impact of Orange County oil spill easing along Southern California coast

California Oil Spill Orange County huntington beach
Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP
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FR170512 AP
Heavy machinery is used to build sand barriers to contain oil washed up in Huntington Beach, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021.

California officials did not see any oil in the water after an aerial survey of the ocean between Long Beach and San Diego county.

Two top California officials did not see any oil when they surveyed the Southern California Coast from the air on Monday.

U.S. Sen Alex Padilla and California Attorney General Rob Bonta flew from the port of Long Beach to northern San Diego County.

Impact of Orange County oil spill easing along Southern California coast
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson

They say there was no sign of oil from the ruptured pipeline that released 25,000 to 130,000 gallons of oil just over a week ago.

Officials have suggested that a ship's anchor dragged and ruptured the pipeline which sits on the sea floor.

Last week, oil sheens were clearly visible in the waters off the Orange County coast and the spilled oil polluted that region’s shoreline.

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“The good news is plenty of resources including personnel being assigned to the clean-up and the monitoring activity,” Padilla said. “The progress looks good thus far but we don’t want to take anything for granted.”

Padilla said offshore oil drilling is already banned in California waters and he wants to see the same ban put in place for federal waters off the California coast.

There are a handful of oil rigs that have operated just outside state waters for decades.

“We are investigating,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “We are determining whether civil enforcement is justified or appropriate. Or whether criminal enforcement is justified and supported by the facts.”

Bonta said there is no timeline for his probe.

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Meanwhile, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon is forming a committee to look into the origin of the spill of the coast of Huntington Beach. Local officials have agreed to take part.

The beach most affected by the spill reopened to the public on Monday.

Huntington beach was reopened after water quality testing revealed no detectable levels of oil in the water just off the coast.