126,000-Gallon California Oil Spill Kills Wildlife, Closes Beaches: Report

By Jason Hall

October 4, 2021

Major Oil Spill Fouls Southern California Beaches
Photo: Getty Images

A massive oil spill in Southern California has led to beach closures and dead wildlife reportedly washing up on the shore as cleanup crews continued to work Sunday (October 3) in an effort to avoid a potential evironmental disaster.

The 126,000-gallon leak occurred off Newport Beach -- which was closed and suctioned after the oil spill -- and an offshore oil pipeline is being investigated as a potential source leading to the incident, Martyn Willsher, chief executive of Amplify Energy, which owns the company that operates the pipeline, confirmed to NBC News.

Former Costa Mesa Mayor and current Orange County Supervisor and Katrina Foley provided several updates on the oil spill on her social media accounts, reporting dead wildlife findings amid "significant ecological impacts" in relation to the spill.

“We’ve started to find dead birds & fish washing up on the shore," Foley tweeted.

A spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife only officially confirmed one animal to be injured during the spill, a duck found covered in oil, and noted that all other reports of dead and/or injured wildlife were still under investigation by the department.

Foley confirmed she personally visted the area and felt the sting of vapor in the air, adding that her "throat hurt" while addressing reporters during a news conference, NBC News reports.

Foley said she saw small clusters of oil along the shorline that looked similar to egg yolk and pleaded with local residents to avoid the area at all costs.

County health officials also warned residents to be aware of dizziness, headaches and other issues that may be brought on by exposure to the oil spill, which caused "substantial ecological impacts" on the shoreline and wetlands and also caused closures at parts of the coastline in nearby Huntington Beach.

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