Huntington Beach reopened on Monday after water quality tests revealed no oil-related toxins
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said Monday that the California Justice Department is investigating an oil spill that sparked fears of an environmental disaster near Huntington Beach.
Bonta said officials would work to determine what caused the spill of thousands of gallons of crude oil from a pipeline owned by Houston-based firm Amplify Energy and whether anything could have been done to stop the spill.
“The oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach is an environmental disaster with far-reaching consequences for our fish and wildlife, our communities and our economy,” Bonta said in a press release. “I want to thank all of our local, state and federal partners who are working round the clock to protect the health and safety of Californians and to reduce damage to our environment and natural resources.”
“In times of crisis, it takes all of us – working together – to make this work. My office is committed to devoting the people and necessary resources to ensuring that this environmental disaster is fully recovered. Let there be an inquiry from us, and we will abide by the facts wherever we go. Let them lead us,” he said.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Bonta had not yet specified whether the investigation was criminal or civil in nature.
Huntington Beach reopened to the public on Monday after water quality tests did not detect any oil-related toxins. The coast reopened after a day-long cleanup effort to address the spill, which was first reported on October 2.
The spill prompted renewed calls among environmental activists and some Democratic lawmakers to end offshore drilling.
“The trade-off between oil production and environmental damage isn’t the only one we should be making anymore, especially given how fossil fuel emissions are exacerbating the climate crisis,” California State Sen. Alex Padilla, a Democrat, said in a statement. “
Officials said the leak may have occurred after the ship’s anchorage caused damage to the pipeline, but officials have yet to announce a definitive discovery. The Coast Guard estimates that 25,000-132,000 gallons of crude oil leaked into the sea.
The Coast Guard and the Orange County District Attorney’s office have also actively investigated the leak.