A new oil sheen has been reported off the coast of Huntington Beach, in the same area as the early October oil spill that closed beaches, killed wildlife and led to a renewed push to stop offshore drilling.
The oil sheen, estimated to be 30 feet by 70 feet, was spotted by a dive team around 11:30 a.m. Saturday.
The Coast Guard announced the finding on Twitter at 1:30 p.m.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Braun said in a statement around 1:45 p.m. that they do not believe it is an oil spill, though it is not yet known for certain.
The team that spotted the slick was diving in the vicinity of the damaged pipeline believed to have caused the oil spill at the start of last month.
The Coast Guard sent a helicopter to investigate the sheen, Braun said, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife sent a boat to the area.
The Huntington Beach Police Department stated on Twitter that it is in communication with the Coast Guard about the sheen, adding that “as a proactive measure, we have deployed HB1 & the Marine Safety boat to evaluate the surrounding area.”
The Huntington Beach Fire Department is also on standby, “ready to deploy preventative equipment as necessary.”
The Governor’s office put out a statement on Twitter at 2:11 p.m., acknowledging the reports of the sheen.
“The state will assist in responding and investigating this incident,” the statement read.
California’s Office of Emergency Services also stated that it is “actively coordinating” with the Coast Guard, the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, “to rapidly evaluate & respond to any potential impacts from this sheen on local communities, the environment & wildlife.”
Around 3:15 p.m., the Coast Guard announced on Twitter that “no sheen is currently observed by on-water and aerial assets,” but that the wrap placed on the damaged pipeline after October’s spill was removed and replaced with a new wrap, just in case.
“Crews will monitor the line overnight ensuring effectiveness,” the updated statement read.
“The pipeline has remained shut down since the initial incident Oct 2,” the Twitter statement added.
The Coast Guard additionally tweeted that an investigation is underway to see if the sheen “is associated with pipeline or from separate source.”
This is a developing story. Refresh this page for new information.
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