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Surf at Huntington Beach, 10 days after a major oil spill marred the waters off the southern California coast. The popular surf spot reopened on Monday after officials with city and state parks in California said in a statement that “water quality test results showed undetectable amounts of toxins associated with the oil in our seawater “.
As my colleague Piper McDaniel reported last week, the ocean floor accident exposed a complex web of responsibilities:
An estimated 144,000 gallons of oil gushed into the sea over the weekend before Amplify Energy Corp., owner of the ruptured pipeline, shut it down … As agencies sort through the mess, eyes have also turned towards the Coast Guard, questioning its role in a slow response that may have made matters worse.
Whoever shares the immediate blame, it was the systemic under-regulation that set the stage for the spill. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration responds to more than 150 oil and chemical spills in U.S. waters each year. But earlier this year, a Government Accountability Office report warned that the Federal Office of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, responsible for overseeing the construction and monitoring of offshore oil wells, was not monitoring and n ‘was not properly inspecting active pipelines.
Many beaches and piers in Orange County were closed to the public following the October 2 spill, which also threatened local wildlife and wetlands. As Piper wrote, the spill “upset delicate ecosystems that are home to rare marine life and bird species.” Working through the mess will likely be a long process. Despite the reopening of Huntington Beach this week, other beaches in the area remain closed and clean-up operations continue, including at Huntington Beach.
Here we have put together some footage from the still flowing scene.