California begins to cleanup after major oil slick forces close down of Southern California beaches

On Saturday, a major oil slick reached the coast of Southern California killing birds and marine life, tarring the sands and closing the beaches including Huntington and Newport beaches. Most of its disastrous effects have been seen in Orange County. Officials who warned that there has been “substantial ecological impacts” are working around the clock to mitigate the disaster along with Beta Offshore.

According to the LA Times, officials said that a broken pipeline connected to an offshore platform called Elly was responsible for the oil slick as crude entered the coastal water around Orange County and also seeped into the Talbert Marsh.

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard in Los Angeles tweeted that the slick was roughly 13 miles in size and was three miles off the coast of Newport Beach. Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr told NBC that the spill amounted to roughly 3000 barrels which is equivalent to 126,000 gallons of oil.

The City of Huntington Beach released a statement that the oil slick had impacted their beach. Skimming equipment and booms have been deployed to stop oil from reaching ecologically sensitive areas.

The Coast Guard, who was the first to notice the oil spill early Saturday, asked the public to stay off the beaches, so that the cleanup could proceed safely. The final day of the Pacific Airshow has also been canceled as all hands are on deck aa they are working together to cleanup the coast in the shortest possible time.

Additional efforts have been deployed on Sunday morning as the oil slick is now stretching for almost six nautical miles from the pier of Huntington beach to New Beach, which is approximately five miles south.

Huntington State Beach is home to several species of birds which have been affected. Dead birds and marine life have washed up on shore. There is a lot of tar as well. Ben Smith a biologist who is also an environmental consultant for the county said that the spill was bad “for wildlife,” “for the water” and for those “who use the water.”

Beta Offshore operates three offshore oil platforms along the Californian coast. The company has not as yet responded when inquiries were made by NBC News.

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