Orange County: 1 Wildlife biologists are calling for the closure of platforms after the oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (KABC) — Locals and biologists agreed: The 2021 oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach had the worst impact on wildlife.

Dan Malane saw the effects of the spill while riding his bike on the boardwalk.

“The fish were flipped and flapping and shaking and things like that,” he said.

Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Care Network at UC Davis, helped with the relief effort.

“Obviously, the Huntington Beach oil spill was a huge problem for the animals. We collected and took care of more than 130 during this response,” Ziccardi said.

ALSO READ | A massive oil spill on the OC coast is reportedly killing wildlife and forcing the cancellation of the Pacific Airshow

While devastating, it wasn’t what most expected.

“The beach was tarred for a few months, but the water wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” said Jackson Smith, who has been surfing in the area for eight years. “I think the tide pushed it farther south, faster than I thought.”

dr Elizabeth Wood, wildlife veterinarian at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, said that luckily they didn’t see the huge influx of oiled wildlife that we were expecting.

“However, we are concerned that many of the impacted wildlife were offshore and may have been unaffected rather than presenting on our shores,” Wood said.

Nearly a year after 25,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the sea, the area reopened for recreational use on Wednesday, and those responsible are paying the price.

Amplify Energy Corp, Beta Operating Co. and the San Pedro Pipeline are expected to pay a total of nearly $13 million under an agreement with prosecutors. A class action lawsuit is pending.

“We hope that some changes will be made to make this less likely in the future, and hopefully that we will also begin the process of decommissioning these offshore oil rigs,” Wood said.

She said one good thing that has resulted from the oil spill is increased surveillance of our coast, which has unfortunately uncovered a large amount of man-made threats endangering our marine wildlife.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. Orange County: 1 Wildlife biologists are calling for the closure of platforms after the oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach

Laura Coffey

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