Major oil spill reaches California coast

Local officials on Sunday warned of “significant ecological impacts,” after thousands of gallons of oil leaked from an offshore oil rig and washed up on Southern California beaches.

The latest: Although where and how the spill occurred remains unknown, the pipeline from which it leaked has been shut off, Martyn Willsher, CEO of Amplify Energy, which owns the facility, confirmed late Sunday to the Associated Press.

All remaining oil in the pipeline has been suctioned out, he added.

Driving the news: The oil slick is reported to be about 13 square miles in size, according to an update from the Coast Guard. The spill is believed to have resulted from a pipeline leak that dumped 126,000 gallons, or 3,000 barrels, into the waters, per the Los Angeles Times.

Lifeguards have reported smelling oil odors throughout the affected beaches, according to Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley.Foley also addressed some of the already visible ecological effects of the spill, saying, “we’ve started to find dead birds and fish washing up on the shore.”

What they’re saying: “We are deeply concerned by the events today,” Foley said in a statement. “The ramifications will extend further than the visible oil and odor that our residents are dealing with … the impact to the environment is irreversible.”

“All agencies, including environmental and wildlife, are working together to mitigate the damage,” she continued. We classify this as a major spill, and it is a high priority to us to mitigate any environmental concerns,” Jennifer Carey, a Huntington Beach spokeswoman, told the Los Angeles Times.

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