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Huntington Beach Oil Spill: Newsom Declares State Of Emergency To Assist In Clean Up, Recovery

HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency in Orange County to facilitate the emergency response to the oil spill off Huntington Beach.

The emergency declaration frees up state personnel, equipment and facilities to help clean up the spill and minimize any further impact to the environment. It also allows state agencies to more quickly buy materials, goods, and services to assist in the response and recovery.

"The state is moving to cut red tape and mobilize all available resources to protect public health and the environment," Newsom said in a statement. "As California continues to lead the nation in phasing out fossil fuels and combating the climate crisis, this incident serves as a reminder of the enormous cost fossil fuels have on our communities and the environment."

An offshore oil rig in federal waters off the California coast was discovered to be leaking Saturday. The leak is now estimated to be 144,000 gallons, up from the 126,000 gallons reported when news of the leak broke. The oil spill has since shut down a large stretch of Orange County's beaches and two harbors while authorities race to clean up the spill and prevent irreparable damage to the environment, particularly sensitive bird habitats like Talbert Marsh.

According to the Office of Emergency Services, California has not granted new offshore leases for oil production in more than 50 years. Newsom in 2019 opposed the Trump administration's proposal to expand oil and gas exploration and production off California's coast and urged the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Land Management to withdraw the state from consideration for further oil and gas development or lease sales.

The state has sent personnel from its Office of Emergency Services and Fish & Wildlife's Office of Spill Prevention to work with the U.S. Coast Guard, local agencies, and responsible parties at incident command in Long Beach.

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