A major oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach has been described as a “potential ecological disaster” by the city’s mayor.
In a press conference on Saturday, Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said an offshore oil production operation had leaked 126,000 gallons into the water.
According to KABC, Carr told reporters: “We want the community to know that as a city, we’ve been working with our federal, state and county partners to mitigate the impact that could be a potential ecological disaster.”
She added the U.S. Coast Guard had been notified of the spill at around 9 a.m. on Saturday and that some of the oil had reached the shore of the Talbert Marshlands and the Santa Ana River Trail.
KABC reported Huntington Beach officials had closed off the water between Beach Boulevard and Brookhurst Street and warned the oil could reach Newport Beach.
In a tweet posted earlier today, a spokesperson for the City of Huntington Beach said: “Due to the reported oil slick off the coast, we will be closing the ocean from the Santa Ana River jetty to the pier.”
In a previous tweet, the City of Huntington Beach said the oil spill was being managed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
City officials also said day three of the Pacific Airshow would be canceled as a result of the recent spill.
In a lengthy statement shared on its Facebook page on Sunday, a spokesperson for the city said: “Currently, the oil slick plume measures an estimated 5.8 nautical miles long and runs from the Huntington Beach Pier down into Newport Beach.”
The spokesperson further explained the reason behind the Pacific Airshow cancelation in the statement, adding the spill “demanded prompt and aggressive action.”
It continued: “As a coastal city that values our ecological assets, Huntington Beach has deployed all necessary and existing resources to prevent significant environmental degradation from the spill.
“In order to facilitate clean-up coordination efforts, and given the potential health impacts from the ongoing situation, the decision has been made by city leadership to cancel the Pacific Airshow scheduled for Sunday, October 3, 2021.
“The city fully acknowledges the gravity of the decision to cancel the final day of the iconic Pacific Airshow and the disappointment that this decision will cause. However, the need for prompt and intensive intervention efforts requires complete and unfettered access to the marine environment.”
Newsweek has contacted the City of Huntington Beach and the U.S. Coast Guard for comment.
The oil spill affected Huntington Beach. In this photo, people gather on June 15, 2021 in Huntington Beach, California.
Mario Tama / Staff/Getty