California oil spill sparks concern for wildlife

An oil slide off the coast of California has started washing ashore, killing fish, contaminating wetlands and closing beaches.

About 3,000 barrels of oil have spread over an area covering 33 square metres, off the Orange County coast.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said portions of the coastline were covered in oil.

An investigation into the pipeline breach that caused it is underway.

The slick, about five miles off the coasts of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, was discovered on Saturday morning.

According to Associate Press, it is believed to be one of the largest oil spills in the state’s recent history.

Authorities are now attempting to contain the oil by using protective booms. Divers are also working at the scene to determine how the leak occurred.

“Wildlife is dying. It’s very sad,” said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley. She said that there were reports of dead animals along the shore and Talbert Marsh, an ecological reserve had also suffered “significant damage”.

The US Coast Guard said it had rescued one duck that was covered in oil and is investigating other similar reports.

Amplify Energy Corp, which owns three off-shore platforms, said it stopped operations and shut its pipeline on Saturday.

CEO Martyn Willner said the pipeline had been suctioned to ensure that no more oil would spill.

The area, 40 miles south of Los Angeles, is extremely popular with surfers. Beaches have been closed and the last day of the Pacific Airshow was cancelled.

Residents have been warned no to approach animals affected by the spill and to instead call authorities.

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