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After massive California oil spill, some residents question if agencies acted quickly enough

Crews on and offshore continue working along Huntington Beach after an offshore rig has leaked at least 144,000 gallons of oil in the Pacific Ocean. It is considered the largest oil spills the area has ever seen.

Martyn Willsher, CEO of Amplify Energy, which operates the pipeline, said Monday there’s a possibility a ship’s anchor may have ruptured the line.

“We have examined more than 8,000 feet of pipe and we have isolated one specific area of significant interest,” Willsher said in a press conference.

U.S. Coast Guard Captain Rebecca Ore, who is overseeing operations for the Coast Guard, told CBS News’ Lilia Luciano the cause is unknown.

“What has been the most challenging of the efforts so far?” asked Luciano.

“The unpredictability is really the most complex part. We don’t know precisely how much is out there,” Ore replied.

Despite concerns about the impact on wildlife, an initial assessment found four oily birds so far compared to the thousands discovered during a spill in 1990.

“The number of birds in the general area seems to be lower than we had feared. But at this point, we’re cautiously optimistic,” said Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network.

Some residents are now questioning whether Amplify Energy and state agencies acted quickly enough.

Locals reported noticing an oil sheen and a heavy petroleum smell Friday night. Willsher maintains that crews didn’t discover a problem until a line inspection the next day.

“Saturday morning, when we found the sheen, that’s when we kicked in the incident command, like I said, so we were not aware of anything Friday night,” Willsher said.

File source

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