California’s worst oil spill in 27 years could have come from an anchor

(Bloomberg) – The owner of an oil pipeline in the midst of California’s worst oil spill in nearly 30 years is investigating the disaster site with a remote-controlled device and local officials have warned the cleanup could take weeks.

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Amplify Energy Corp. is approaching “a source and a cause” of the incident, which may have been caused by a ship’s anchor, chief executive Martyn Willsher told a press conference on Monday. The spill that began on Saturday dumped about 3,000 barrels (126,000 gallons) of crude into the Pacific Ocean near the seaside community of Huntington Beach, which hosted the US Open of Surfing last week.

It is the largest such disaster in the Golden State since the 1994 earthquake that opened a pipeline and dumped around 4,500 barrels into the sea, according to a database compiled by the Public Media Group at Southern California nonprofit. Amplify fell 53% on Monday. The shares reduced some of the losses after the press conference, triggering a temporary halt in trading.

The spill comes at a time when regulatory skepticism about the environmental practices of the oil industry was already very high. Last week, the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission voted to block a proposal from Exxon Mobil Corp. transport crude by tanker truck and restart three offshore platforms in the region.

The disaster should encourage Congressional Democrats to pass legislation that would protect places like Southern California from such incidents, said Diane Hoskins, campaign manager for ocean conservation group Oceana.

“All available measures are taken to ensure the safety of the public and response personnel, to control the source and recover the spilled material in order to maximize the protection of environmentally sensitive areas and to minimize the impact on maritime trade”, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at a press conference. briefing.

Recovery efforts

Psaki estimated that 3,150 barrels of oil had been recovered from the ocean so far. This equates to approximately 2.5% of the spill.

A wide swath of beach and ocean remained closed and more than 2,000 feet of floating barriers were deployed to help contain the spilled crude, Huntington Beach city officials said in a statement.

Willsher said the company had sufficient insurance and other resources to handle the cost of the incident.

In June, the company’s loan under the US Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program was fully canceled. At the end of that month, Amplify had approximately $ 216 million in net debt.

(Add White House comment to sixth paragraph.)

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