California Oil Spill Live Updates: Bird 95 Percent Covered in Oil When Taken in For Care

Live Updates

A massive oil spill off the coast of Southern California has closed beaches and devastated local wildlife.

A pipeline breached about five miles off the coast of Huntington Beach Sunday, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said, dumping 126,000 gallons of oil spilled into the Pacific Ocean.

The United States Coast Guard is on the scene to investigate the spill and stop the leak. Residents in the areas are advised to avoid swimming, fishing, surfing or walking their dogs near the impacted beaches and Talbert Marshlands. Beaches and harbors from Hungtington each to Laguna Beach remain closed.

The pipeline is owned by Amplify Energy. Its CEO Martyn Willsher said in a news conference Sunday that the company is "fully committed" to staying on the scene and working with local, state and federal agencies "until this incident is fully concluded."

Willsher said the company found a possible source of the oil leak and will deploy divers to confirm the source.

However, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer is demanding an independent investigation into the cause of the spill.

"[Amplify Energy] should not be able to go anywhere near that pipeline," Spitzer said during a press conference. "If the investigation is not done independently, it's a travesty."

A spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Office of Spill Prevention and Response said local, state and federal agencies are actively reviewing the leak and are a part of a separate process from the response teams cleaning up oil.

The live updates for this blog have ended.

Oil Spill Cleanup Huntington Beach
Above, a person takes photos as crews work to block oil in the ocean (TOP) from entering an inlet leading to the Talbert Marsh wetlands after a 126,000-gallon oil spill from an offshore oil platform on October 4, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California. The spill forced the closure of the popular Great Pacific Airshow yesterday with authorities closing beaches in the vicinity. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Oiled Wildlife Care Network shares image of oiled bird treated at its facility

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) shared an image of the first oiled bird it took in for treatment following the oil spill over the weekend.

The Sanderling was 95 percent oiled but was "alert and appeared healthy."

The bird was stabilized and transferred to another OWCN facility for continued care and washing.

1st bird treated today by @oiledwildlife vet Dr. Duane Tom was a 95% oiled Sanderling. The bird was alert & appeared healthy notwithstanding the oiling - it was stabilized prior to being transferred for continued care and washing at an #OWCN network facility. #OCspill #oilspill pic.twitter.com/E3OTx0QAaD

— Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) (@oiledwildlife) October 4, 2021

Officials are investigating if a ship anchor caused the oil spill

Amplify Energy CEO Martyn Willsher said an anchor striking the pipeline is "one of the distinct possibilities" for the oil spill off the Southern California coast.

A U.S. Coast Guard official said cargo ships from Los Angeles and Long Beach ports regularly pass through the area.

"We're looking into if it could have been an anchor from a ship, but that's in the assessment phase right now," Coast Guard Lieutenant Commander Jeannie Shaye said during a press conference Monday.

Regulatory records show Amplify energy has been cited 72 times for safety and environmental violations that were severe enough to stop drilling to fix the issues, the Associated Press reported.

Amplify's subsidiary Beta Operating Company has been cited 125 times since 1980, according to the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, the federal agency that regulates the offshore oil and gas industry.

Amplify Energy closing in on source of oil spill leak

Amplify Energy is closing in on identifying the source of the oil spill, CEO Martyn Willsher said during a press briefing.

Willsher said divers from the company will be investigating one specific area they believe to be the source of the leak and will have more information within the next 24 hours.

He said there is no active leak in the area they suspect to be the source.

When pressed about the timeline of the spill, Willsher said the company was "not aware" of the leak Friday night and the company detected the leak Saturday morning.

He also clarified that the maximum amount of oil that could have leaked is about 31011 barrels or about 127,000 gallons of oil.

Spill projected to move south past Laguna Beach, U.S. Coast Guard says

U.S. Coast Guard has doubled its efforts to contain oil on the open ocean and along the shoreline Monday afternoon.

In a press conference, U.S. Coast Guard Captain Rebecca Ore, the Port and Sector Commander for Los Angeles-Long Beach, said there is more personnel in the field and in the command base.

She said there are three to four daily overflight assessments of the coastline to measure the scope and trajectory of the spill.

The spill has spread from Huntington Beach to Laguna Beach and Ore predicts the spill will continue to move south based on the wind and ocean currents.

Ore clarified that the spill is "not one large oil slick," but rather "isolated ribbons or patches" of oil covering several miles from Sunset Beach to Dana Point. She added that the square mileage of the spill covers is constantly changing.

Newport Harbor closed to prevent the spread of oil, city officials say

Boats will not be able to enter or exit Newport Harbor Monday amid the offshore oil spill, city officials announced.

The harbor has been temporarily closed to prevent oil from entering the harbor, the city said in a statement.

There is currently no evidence of oil in the harbor waters.

Newport Harbor has been temporarily closed to vessel traffic due to the oil spill off the coast of Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. The action is being taken to prevent oil from entering the harbor. There is no evidence of oil in the harbor waters. https://t.co/jnvYiJso00

— City of Newport Beach (@newportbeachgov) October 4, 2021

At least four oiled birds rescued and treated, Oiled Wildlife Care Network director says

Teams from U.S. Davis' Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) are working to rescue and treat animals affected by the oil spill off the shore of Huntington Beach.

OWCN Director Dr. Michael Ziccardi told reporters Monday that crews are searching for oiled marine animals in the water and on land and will continue "reconnaissance" efforts around the area to better assess the number of animals affected.

Ziccardi said their hotline has received 300 calls of oiled animals in need of help so far and the number of impacted animals is lower than the team initially feared.

He also said OWCN has collected four live oiled birds. Unfortunately, a Brown Pelican had to be "humanely euthanized" due to the severity of its condition.

He added that the OWCN has a 50 to 75 percent success rate to return animals into a clean environment.

"Oil spills are traumatic," he said. And the OWCN's goal is "to mitigate the damage."

OWCN has been activated by @CalSpillWatch and we are deploying staff. We have safety measures in place for potentially oiled wildlife as well as for our first responders.

If you see oiled wildlife, please call 1-877-UCD-OWCN. DO NOT PICK UP OILED WILDLIFE.

— Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) (@oiledwildlife) October 3, 2021

Tar balls wash up on Laguna Beach shores

Netting and signs were set up to prevent people from gathering along the shore in Laguna Beach Monday as oil cleanup efforts continue.

KCAL reported balls of tar are washing up on Laguna's beaches Monday. Fishing is banned from Sunset Beach to Dana Point extending six miles from the shore.

This morning netting wraps around Main Beach reminding visitors to stay off the sand after this weekends oil spill in Orange County. I’m not seeing any tar or oil on the shores yet in Laguna Beach, but officials with @lagunabeachgov fear it is only a matter of time. @CBSLA pic.twitter.com/kVg63EhEt6

— Joy Benedict (@joybenedict) October 4, 2021

All city and county beaches in Laungua Beach remain closed.

"The City is asking that all individuals remain clear of the beach and pay close attention to any closure or warning signs posted at or near beach areas," the City of Laguna Beach said in a tweet.

Hazmat crews seen along ocean as oil pools in water near shoreline

People in Hazmat suits were seen on beaches as oil infiltrates pools of water near the shoreline in Huntington and Newport Beach.

You can see the oil from the big #OilSpill in a pool of water near the shoreline. And they have boom in place to help contain and remove the oil. #HuntingtonBeach #NewportBeach @KNX1070 pic.twitter.com/EMVT7pTI9X

— Jon Baird (@KNXBaird) October 4, 2021

KNX1070 reporter Jon Baird saw crew members in Hazmat suits along the ocean as oil cleanup efforts continue. Baird also noted that oil from the offshore spill made its way into the Talbert Channel at the south end of Huntington Beach.

Looks like a bunch of crew members in Hazmat suits along the ocean in #HuntingtonBeach. #OilSpill @KNX1070 pic.twitter.com/9cgMndtR1v

— Jon Baird (@KNXBaird) October 4, 2021

Erin Brockovich condemns oil spill

Environmental activist Erin Brockovich took to Twitter to condemn the Huntington Beach oil spill.

"People are the worst thing to happen to this planet," she said in a tweet.

People are the worst thing to happen to this planet. https://t.co/79vEEiGYMC #HuntingtonBeach #OilSpill

— Erin Brockovich (@ErinBrockovich) October 4, 2021

Brockovich criticized the repeated pattern of neglect from oil companies and lawyers who profit from oil spills while the planet suffers.

"Big company doesn't invest in infrastructure. Big company has a blow out. Big company gets sued. Lawyers get rich, people and the planet get screwed," she tweeted.

She also called for an end to the practice of oil extraction.

"The era of digging [oil] out of the ground to burn need to be OVER or WE will be," she said in a tweet. "It's that simple."

Amplify Energy stock down Monday after oil spill

Amplify Energy's stock plummeted Monday after the company was linked to the oil spill off the coast of Southern California.

According to Reuters, shares for the company were down nearly 63 percent in premarket trading Monday morning.

The Houston-based company shut down production at the Beta Field over the weekend and sent a remotely operated vehicle to "investigate and attempt to confirm the source of the release."

"Amplify Energy is a fully engaged member of and working cooperatively with the unified command, consisting of the Coast Guard, California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Office of Spill Prevention and Response (CDFW-OSPR)," the company said in a statement Monday.

Local residents are questioning the speed of response time to the spill

Huntington Beach residents are questioning the speed of the response to the oil spill.

Residents and business owners said they noticed an oil sheen and a heavy petroleum smell Friday evening, but the U.S. Coast Guard did not confirm the spill and begin its response until Sunday.

Rick Torgerson, owner of Blue Star Yacht Charter told the Associated Press that on Friday, "people were emailing, and the neighbors were asking, 'do you smell that?'" By Saturday morning, he said boats were returning to the marina covered in oil

Booms on the ocean surface to contain the oil were not deployed until Sunday and the company responsible for the spill did not shut down operations until Sunday evening.

"By the time it comes to the beach, it's done tremendous damage. Our frustration is, it could have been averted if there was a quick response," Garry Brown, president of the environmental group Orange County Coastkeeper and Huntington Beach resident told the AP.

Leak has not been completely capped

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr told MSNBC that the source of the leak has been identified but it has not been stopped.

"At this time we have not received confirmation that the leak has been completely capped," Carr said.

Over 2,000 feet of protective booms have been set up to protect beaches and mitigate ecological damage to wetlands. Beaches remain closed Monday as crews clean up the spill.