Huge oil spill washes ashore in California, killing wildlife | Environmental News

The US Coast Guard, working with local and government agencies, flew planes to assess the spill and had hired contractors to clean it up.

A major oil spill off the coast of California began to wash up at Huntington Beach this weekend after an oil rig pipeline burst, leaving dead fish and birds on the sand, local and federal officials said.

According to Katrina Foley, the Orange County supervisor, an estimated 570,000 liters (126,000 gallons) have been scattered in an oil slick that spans about 30 square kilometers (13 sq mi) of the Pacific Ocean.

“The impact on the environment is irreversible,” she said in a statement. She said the spill was caused by a breach connected to the Elly oil rig that stretched from Huntington Beach Pier to Newport Beach, a stretch of coast south of Los Angeles that is popular with surfers and sunbathers.

On Sunday, Foley said the oil had infiltrated the Talbert Marsh, a large ecological reserve, causing “significant damage”.

A petroleum stench permeated the air throughout the area. “You get the taste in the mouth just from the vapors in the air,” she said.

Beaches were closed for swimming and a local air show was cancelled, although some people didn’t mind putting chairs on the beach to enjoy a sunny Sunday or stroll along the pier.

Huntington Beach officials said they deployed booms to prevent oil from flowing into the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and Huntington Beach Wetlands.

The US Coast Guard, working with local and government agencies, flew planes to assess the spill and had hired contractors to clean it up.

Officials said they were investigating the cause of the spill and the type of oil involved.

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