By Bridgette Bjolo and Jose Fabian, FOX TV-40 Sacramento, CA
October 4, 2021
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Environmentalists are sounding the alarm after a massive oil spill occurred off the coast of Orange County.
Activists said the incident could have been prevented if proper oil drilling regulations had been in place.
“My reaction was horrible but not surprising,” said Liza Tucker, with Consumer Watchdog.
The oil spill sent as much as 127,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean, killing marine life and threatening sensitive wetlands.
“Crude oil in water is much more difficult to contain and cleanup so the impact to marine life is always pretty devastating,” said Kyle Ferrar, with FracTracker Alliance.
The Coast Guard is investigating whether the anchor of a large commercial ship struck an underwater oil pipeline. But some say the real blame is on the failure to maintain aging offshore infrastructure and insufficient safety standards for oil drilling.
“All of this infrastructure are decades old. Nothing lasts forever. They could already be leaking. They could be corroded,” Tucker said.
Environmental advocates are now pushing for more regulation when it comes to oil drilling and demanding it’s done 2,500 feet away from frontline communities.
“Seven million live within a mile of a well. Two million live within a half mile of a well. Scientific studies have shown these frontline communities, which are mainly working class communities of color, bear the brunt of this kind of pollution, and they are being exposed to very toxic emissions,” Tucker said.
They are also calling on Governor Gavin Newsom to put a stop to oil permits in state waters.
“These operators across the state continue to kick the can down the road. Regulators need to take action so these environmental contamination events do not occur in the future,” Ferrar said.
Newsom has so far issued 9,000 permits for oil drilling since 2019. Some are demanding he shut down the operations completely to protect the environment and those living in it.