State Watch

Newsom declares state of emergency in Orange County to help with oil spill cleanup

A major oil spill hits Southern California coast
Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newson (D) on Monday proclaimed a state of emergency in Orange County to aid efforts responding to the one of the largest oil spills in the state’s recent history.

“The state is moving to cut red tape and mobilize all available resources to protect public health and the environment,” Newsom said in a statement.

“As California continues to lead the nation in phasing out fossil fuels and combating the climate crisis, this incident serves as a reminder of the enormous cost fossil fuels have on our communities and the environment,” he added.

At least 126,0000 gallons of crude oil leaked out into the coastline off of Orange County, but authorities are still working to determine what sparked the leak.

Officials on Monday said they are looking into whether a ship’s anchor damaged a pipeline and caused the spill that began over the weekend and has since closed a number of beaches in Southern California.

Martyn Willsher, the CEO of Amplify Energy, which controls the pipeline, said it being struck by the anchor is “one of the distinct possibilities.”

Newsom, in his emergency proclamation, said the oil spill has “impacted and continues to threaten the environment and marine life in the area, including marine mammals, birds, and fish.”

Willsher said divers have inspected more than 8,000 feet of the pipeline, and are now focusing on “one area of significant interest.”

Once the spill started, workers turned off the pipeline and recovered as much of the oil as they were able to. By Sunday morning, however, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said the leak already had “significant ecological impacts” on Huntington Beach.

The spill has galvanized California Democrats on Capitol Hill, who are now calling for limiting or stopping offshore drilling.

See all Hill.TV See all Video