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HomeNewsCity NewsSpotted Oil Sheen Amplifies Concerns About Continued Offshore Drilling

Spotted Oil Sheen Amplifies Concerns About Continued Offshore Drilling

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Coast Guard officials investigated a reported 30-by-70 feet sheen of oil off the coast of Huntington Beach on Nov. 20. The report came from divers working in affiliation with Amplified Energy, the company held responsible for the earlier Oct. 2 spill at the same location.  

Within a few hours, the Coast Guard reported that the sheen vanished from the water without determining where it had come from. A sheen can be defined as a soft luster on the surface.

Shortly after, the Coast Guard tweeted a third update stating that an “investigation is ongoing to determine if previously reported sheen is associated with pipeline or from separate source.” 

Since the report, no party has been held officially responsible for the leakage. It is suspected to have sourced from Amplify Energy’s previously bursted pipeline. Shortly before divers reported the sheen, Amplify’s bursted pipeline received a new replacement wrap which divers monitored. 

According to Amplify Energy’s official press release, “all operations have been suspended and the pipeline has been shut-in until the company receives the required regulatory approvals to begin operations.” 

Opponents of offshore have since used the incident to attest their cause. In a tweet following the sheen’s report, Sen. Dave Min stated that “offshore drilling off the coast of CA needs to end NOW.” 

Sen. Min, Sen. Josh Newman and their fellow local leaders were some of the first to call for this end. In a letter written to Orange County’s federal legislative representatives from earlier in October, the representatives pushed for policies to halt offshore drilling. Policies included Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s West Coast Ocean Preservation Act, which would halt offshore drilling in federal waters in the Pacific Ocean if passed. Another quoted act was Rep. Mike Levin’s American Coasts and Oceans Protection Act, which aims to end all current drilling leases and prevent the start of new offshore drilling projects. 

Legislation has yet to be put into motion and companies are still permitted to drill along the coast of California.

Erin Boshers is a City News Intern for the fall 2021 quarter. She can be reached at eboshers@uci.edu.