Huntington Beach has reopened, but the aftermath of the oil spill is far from over – Mother Jones

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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.

A surfer rides a wave shortly after Huntington Beach reopens on October 11.

Paul Bersebach / The Orange County Register / AP

A worker in protective gear cleans an area of ​​the beach.

Jason Ryan / Zuma

A worker sifts the oil from the sand.

Jason Ryan / Zuma

Workers clean up the contaminated area in Newport Beach on October 6. Teams worked to contain the pollution before it spread further into protected wetlands.

Ringo HW Chiu / AP

Workers scavenge oil from water in Huntington Beach.

Gao Shan / Xinhua / Zuma

A federally threatened snow plover takes an exam at the International Bird Rescue in San Pedro on October 8. Oiled birds are taken to the rescue center to be cleaned and rehabilitated.

International Bird Rescue / Zuma

On October 6, oil floated on the surface of the water in a creek leading to the Talbert Wetlands Marsh.

Ringo HW Chiu / AP

A worker cleans up a contaminated part of Newport Beach on October 6. Some of the crude oil that spilled from the pipeline naturally dispersed into ocean currents, a coastguard official said last week, as authorities sought to determine the extent of the damage. .

Ringo HW Chiu / AP

Workers in protective gear continue to clean up the contaminated area in Huntington Beach, even when it reopens.

Ringo HW Chiu / AP

Bags of crude oil collected by workers are stacked in Newport Beach.

Ringo HW Chiu / AP

A man rests as workers in protective gear continue to clean up the contaminated area in Huntington Beach.

Ringo HW Chiu / AP

California Attorney General Rob Bonta (right) and Senator Alex Padilla (center) arrive for a press conference in Huntington Beach on October 11.

Ringo HW Chiu / AP

Surfers prepare to hit the water at Huntington Beach after it reopens.

Ringo HW Chiu / AP

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