Governor Gavin Newsom issued a state of emergency late Monday over the oil spill off the coast of Orange County while officials say that the leak is stopped and not continuing to leak.

OC Oil Spill

Latest Figures
  • Authorities now estimate a spill size range between 25,000 gallons to a maximum of 131,000 gallons
  • 5,544 gallons of oily water retrieved
  • Approximately 172,500 pounds of oily debris has been recovered from shorelines
  • 14,060 feet of boom laid to try to curb oil spread
  • More than 900 people on the ground in cleanup effort
Contacts
  • General questions: 714-374-1702
  • Do not approach affected wildlife, call in a report: 877-823-6926
  • Assist with animals: 714-374-5587
  • Help with cleanups: 714-374-1702
  • File a claim: 866-985-8366

The letter calls on a variety of state agencies to continue and enhance their work in Orange County after an oil spill dumped around 126,000 gallons into the water just a few miles off the coast of Orange County. 

“The state is moving to cut red tape and mobilize all available resources to protect public health and the environment,” Newsom said in a news release.

The 126,000 statistic is from early Sunday morning, and is still the last public update on the size of the spill. 

Newsom’s letter came after state senators Dave Min and Tom Umberg, along with Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, sent a joint letter asking the governor to call a state of emergency to speed up response. 

“A state of emergency declaration will be vital to prevent delays to necessary actions,” they wrote. “In regards to resources, we want to be clear that not one taxpayer dollar should pay for response and clean up. Amplify Energy, the responsible party, needs to be held accountable for all of the costs.”

Their letter also put the size of the spill at 144,000 gallons, the largest estimate released by any public officials.

Huntington Beach officials also released a letter last night identifying the new maximum of the spill at 144,000 gallons.

During a press conference Monday afternoon, Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher said the 126,000 gallons was their estimate of the maximum amount that could leak from the pipeline. He declined to comment on what the current leak estimates were.

Wilshire also said on Monday that the pipeline is shut down and no more oil is leaking.

“There are no further indications of further discharge from the pipeline and the investigation continues into the cause of the spill,” reads a letter sent by the joint response team.

The team is led by the US Coast Guard, along with the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife and Amplify Energy, the operator of the burst pipeline. The cities of Long Beach, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach are also assisting. 

There is no set timeframe on when the beaches will reopen, with Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr saying she’s heard “a few weeks to a few months.” No one from the task force has commented on when beaches will reopen or how long the recovery effort will take. 

According to Willsher, divers were sent down yesterday to examine the likely spot of the leak in the pipeline after remote operating vehicles previously explored the potential leak source. There has been no statement yet on their progress. 

Officials say they’ve recovered 4,158 gallons of oil from the water and laid out over 8,700 feet of boom as of Monday afternoon. Response teams are reviewing the impact to coastlines from Huntington Beach to Dana Point Harbor. 

Noah Biesiada is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him at nbiesiada@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @NBiesiada.

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

BREAKING TEXT ALERTS

Subscribe today to receive Voice of OC’s breaking news text messages (free beyond your standard messaging rates).

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.