Officials were notified of oil in the water hours before the public was told of a massive Southern California spill, a bombshell new report claims.
Documents show that the state’s Office of Spill Prevention had been notified several times that a “sheen” was in the waters off Orange County Friday night and early Saturday – even though it wasn’t until 8:55 a.m. that the company Amplify Energy reported a leak had sprung in its pipeline, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Times’ report comes as agencies face questions about the response to the disaster, with residents claiming there had been a distinct smell of fuel in the air on Friday.
The spill, estimated to be at least 126,000 gallons, is decimating ocean wildlife along the shores of Huntington Beach down to Laguna Beach as crews work to contain it.
Officials were first notified of the “sheen” in waters outside Huntington Beach at 10:22 p.m., the Times reported, citing documents. The US Coast Guard is probing whether the company goofed in monitoring its oil pressure, which could have led to a delay in shutting down the flow of thousands of gallons of oil that ended up in the water, the Times stated.
The operator of the pipeline was cited 72 times in the past for various violations, the Associated Press reported Monday. The spill, which has already spread roughly six miles by official estimates, will mean closed beaches and suspended fishing in addition to the long-term environmental destruction.
The pipeline may have cracked from the anchor of a cargo ship.
With Post wires
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