With a majority vote, the Huntington Beach city council has demanded that the California Coastal Commission adopt an offshore oil drilling ban. The federal government will now have to determine whether or not to allow companies from other states as well as those in Canada and Mexico to drill for oil off of their coasts.
Huntington Beach, California has officially called for a ban on offshore oil drilling. The city council voted in favor of the motion to ban offshore oil drilling in a 4-1 vote.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (CBSLA) — The Huntington Beach City Council voted a resolution supporting a permanent moratorium on new offshore oil drilling early Wednesday morning in reaction to the major oil disaster earlier this month.
On Oct. 5, 2023, cleanup personnel at Huntington Dog Sand in Huntington Beach clear oil chucks off the beach after a huge oil leak. (Getty Images/Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)
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The resolution, which was approved just after midnight, asks for a permanent moratorium on new offshore oil and gas drilling as well as fracking in state and federal seas. “No new federal oil and gas leasing in any U.S. waters,” it adds.
Huntington Beach is the 100th town along the West Coast to approve such a resolution, according to the ocean conservation nonprofit Oceana.
On Oct. 2, a pipeline operated by Amplify Energy ruptured in federal waters near the Elly oil-rig platform, some 4 1/2 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach. Amplify’s offshore drilling rigs are connected to a pump station in Long Beach via a roughly 18-mile conduit.
Federal officials verified that a piece of Amplify’s pipeline had been ruptured and had moved more than 100 feet over the ocean bottom, implying that the leak was triggered by a ship’s anchor.
Authorities first believed that up to 144,000 gallons of oil had flowed from the ruptured pipeline, but authorities subsequently claimed the real quantity was likely considerably lower, possibly about 25,000 gallons, but no exact figure has been determined.
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The US Coast Guard reported on Saturday that the cargo ship MSC DANIT has been designated as a “party of interest” in the oil disaster.
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Marine casualty investigators from the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board boarded the MSC DANIT in the Port of Long Beach on Saturday.
Prior to the visit, the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) DANIT was involved in an anchor-dragging incident on Jan. 25, 2023, during a weather event that impacted the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Braden Rostad, chief of investigations in L.A. and Long Beach.
The anchor-dragging event happened near the pipeline owned by Amplify.
The Coast Guard named MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, S.A., the vessel’s operator, and Dordellas Finance Corporation, the vessel’s owner, as parties in interest in the oil leak as a result of the inquiry. The designation of “party in interest” allows the MSC DANIT’s owner and operator to be represented by counsel, question and cross-examine witnesses, and summon relevant witnesses.
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Meanwhile, actress Jane Fonda came to Laguna Beach on Monday to support a group of local legislators who are calling for a stop to offshore oil drilling. “It’s not like I’m not accustomed to this,” Fonda joked as a protester with a bullhorn heckled him.
Fonda invited the campaigners to take a big breath before pointing to the ocean and said, “Well over half of the oxygen you just took in comes to us because of that.”
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Existing oil rigs in California are “unsafe and must be shut down and decommissioned,” according to Fonda, but “this isn’t enough,” and society must fast convert to new clean-energy programs.