Oil Spill off California Coast Causes Environment Harm

A 13-square-mile oil spill off the coast of Southern California forced the closure of a pipeline and prompted officials to close beaches. The source for the leak was a pipeline owned by Amplify Energy, a Houston-based company.

Investigators have determined that the underwater oil pipeline was likely damaged by a ship’s anchor several months to a year before it ruptured. Coast Guard Captain Jason Neubauer, chief of the office of investigations and analysis, said it’s possible other ships’ anchors subsequently struck the pipe that brings oil to shore from three platforms out at sea. It now appears that many factors played a role in the pipe’s leak, including possible anchor strikes, stresses from being dragged along the seafloor and the corrosive forces of seawater. Neubauer said investigators have narrowed their search to large cargo vessels that would be powerful enough to move a 4,000-foot section of pipeline 105 feet across the ocean floor.

The exact size of the leak isn’t known, but the Coast Guard estimates at least 25,000 gallons and no more than 132,000 gallons. As of this printing, the Coast Guard has recovered 5,500 gallons of crude.

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