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CEO of firm whose pipeline spilled 126,000 gallons off Huntington Beach claims leak has stopped

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Martyn Willsher, who oversees Amplify Energy Corp., said Sunday his company's 17½-mile pipeline that sprung the leak had been 'suctioned at both ends' so no more oil would spill out into the already contaminated Pacific

Martyn Willsher, who oversees Amplify Energy Corp., said Sunday his company’s 17½-mile pipeline that sprung the leak had been ‘suctioned at both ends’ so no more oil would spill out into the already contaminated Pacific

The CEO of an energy firm whose pipeline leaked 126,000 gallons of oil onto the California coast says the spillage has stopped, with the company’s share price plunging by more than 50 percent as a result. 

Martyn Willsher, who oversees the operations of Houston-based oil company Amplify Energy Corp., said Sunday that his company’s 17½-mile underwater pipeline that sprung the leak had been ‘suctioned at both ends’ over the weekend, so that no more oil would spill out into the already contaminated Pacific.

Willsher added that the company is investigating the spill and that divers were at a potential source site of the leak, asserting that the pipeline – built in the late 70s and early 80s – has had undergone maintenance and has been ‘meticulously maintained’ every year since, even during the pandemic. 

‘Everything is shut down,’ Willsher said. ‘Our employees live and work in these communities, and we’re all deeply impacted and concerned about the impact,’ the executive added. 

Amplify stock plummeted by more than half of its market value Monday morning in pre-opening trading, compared to the day prior. 

‘We will do everything in our power to ensure that this is recovered as quickly as possible.’

The major oil spill off the coast of Southern California has been stopped, according to the company responsible, after 126,000 gallons of crude spread across Orange County shorelines on Sunday evening

The major oil spill off the coast of Southern California has been stopped, according to the company responsible, after 126,000 gallons of crude spread across Orange County shorelines on Sunday evening

Oil formed into globules, foam and sheen that flowed in from high tide and was held back by a sand berm and boom in a trapped pool as a major oil spill washes ashore on the border of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach

Oil formed into globules, foam and sheen that flowed in from high tide and was held back by a sand berm and boom in a trapped pool as a major oil spill washes ashore on the border of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach

 

Amplify stock plummeted by more than half of its market value Monday morning in pre-opening trading, compared to the day prior

Amplify stock plummeted by more than half of its market value Monday morning in pre-opening trading, compared to the day prior

The leak – which likely sprung late Friday night – left a slew of beaches in the Orange County area hopelessly contaminated.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said Saturday that the beaches of the community nicknamed ‘Surf City’ could remain closed for months, and hinted that her office is investigating ways to hold the oil company accountable.

‘In a year that has been filled with incredibly challenging issues, this oil spill constitutes one of the most devastating situations that our community has dealt with in decades,’ Carr said. 

‘In the coming days and weeks we challenge the responsible parties to do everything possible to rectify this environmental catastrophe.’ 

Carr added: ‘We are doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our residents, our visitors and our natural habitats.’ 

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said Saturday that the beaches of the community nicknamed 'Surf City' could remain closed for months, and hinted that her office is investigating ways to hold the oil company accountable.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said Saturday that the beaches of the community nicknamed ‘Surf City’ could remain closed for months, and hinted that her office is investigating ways to hold the oil company accountable.

However, oil still ‘infiltrated’ and contaminated Talbert Marsh, a wetland situated on the Orange County coast, home to many bird species. 

The county is building a sand berm to keep the oil from intruding further, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said on Sunday. 

Foley added that hordes of dead birds and fish have washed ashore along the county’s coast. 

Authorities said the oil came from Platform Elly, a pipeline operated by Beta Offshore, a Long Beach unit of Houston’s Amplify Energy.        

Hordes of dead birds and fish have washed ashore along the county's coast after the 13-square-mile spill left the area contaminated

Hordes of dead birds and fish have washed ashore along the county’s coast after the 13-square-mile spill left the area contaminated

The 13-square-mile slick has spread all across the Orange County coast, including to Newport Beach to the south, and will likely continue to do so, officials said.

U.S. Representative Michelle Steel, a Republican representing part of the affected area, sent a letter to Democratic President Joe Biden requesting a major disaster declaration for Orange County, which would free up federal funds to help with the clean-up efforts. 

The spill occurred in federal waters. In a statement, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), a division of the Interior Department, said it was supporting response efforts headed by the U.S. Coast Guard.

The bureau said its role was to ‘assist in identifying the location and source of any spills and provide technical assistance in stopping the spillage’.

The coast is a renowned habitat for threatened and endangered species including humpback whales and a small wading bird called the snowy plover. 

The Coast Guard has recovered 3,150 gallons of oil from the water and deployed 5,360 feet of skimmers and floating barriers known as booms to try to stop further incursion into the wetlands and the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.  



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