The California Department of Justice is investigating the spill off the coast of Huntington Beach earlier this month, which sent thousands of gallons of oil into the ocean, State Attorney General Rob said on Monday. Bonta.
The spill, from an underwater pipeline, polluted waters near Los Angeles last weekend, blackening beaches and endangering wildlife.
Bonta said the state’s justice department will work with other state, local and federal authorities to determine the cause of the spill and what, if anything, could have been done to prevent or minimize the disaster.
Officials have previously said the cause remains under investigation, and they believe the pipeline was likely damaged by a ship’s anchor several months to a year before it ruptured.
“The oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach is an environmental disaster with far-reaching consequences for our fish and wildlife, for our communities and for our economy,” said Bonta.
Experts have warned that the spill is unlikely to be the last in the state, with many aging oil rigs offshore.
US Senator Alex Padilla of California said: “It is unacceptable that Californians are once again facing the devastating effects of an oil spill. The trade-off between oil production and environmental damage is simply no longer a trade-off we should make, especially as fossil fuel emissions exacerbate the climate crisis. “
U.S. Coast Guard officials said a pipeline owned by Houston-based Amplify Energy, which carries crude from offshore platforms to the coast, has leaked at least about 25,000 gallons (95,000 liters) and no more than 132,000 gallons (500,000 liters) of crude oil in the ocean.
The spill was confirmed on October 2, a day after residents reported a smell of oil in the area.
Huntington Beach – nicknamed “Surf City USA” – reopened earlier than expected on Monday after a putrid smell blanketed the coast and drops of crude began to wash up on the shore.
City and state park officials have decided to reopen the Huntington Beach shoreline after water quality tests found no detectable levels of petroleum-associated toxins in the ocean.
The Associated Press contributed to this report