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Huntington Beach officially calls for offshore oil drilling ban

By CBSLA Staff

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    HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA (KCAL, KCBS) — In response to the massive oil spill earlier this month, the Huntington Beach City Council early Wednesday morning passed a resolution supporting a permanent ban on new offshore oil drilling.

The resolution, passed just after midnight, calls for a permanent ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling, as well as fracking in state and federal waters. It also calls for “no new federal oil and gas leasing in all U.S. waters.”

According to the ocean conservation group Oceana, Huntington Beach is the 100th community along the West Coast to pass such a resolution.

On the morning of Oct. 2, a rupture was reported to a pipeline owned by Amplify Energy in federal waters at the Elly oil-rig platform, about 4 1/2 miles offshore of Huntington Beach. The nearly 18-mile pipeline runs from Amplify’s offshore drilling platforms to a pump station in Long Beach.

Federal authorities confirmed that a section of Amplify’s pipeline was damaged and moved more than 100 feet along the ocean floor, an indication that a ship’s anchor may have caused the spill.

Authorities initially estimated that as much as 144,000 gallons of oil may have leaked from the damaged pipeline, but officials later said the actual amount is likely much lower, likely around 25,000 gallons, although there is no firm number.

On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that it has identified the container ship MSC DANIT as a “party of interest” in the oil spill.

Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board marine casualty investigators boarded the MSC DANIT Saturday in the Port of Long Beach.

Prior to the visit, Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Braden Rostad, chief of investigations in L.A. and Long Beach determined that the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) DANIT was involved in an anchor-dragging incident on Jan. 25, 2021, during a weather event that impacted the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The anchor-dragging incident occurred in close proximity to Amplify’s pipeline.

As a result of the investigation, the Coast Guard designated the MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, S.A. — the operator of the vessel — and Dordellas Finance Corporation — the owner of the vessel — as parties in interest in the oil spill. The “party in interest” designation provides the owner and operator of the MSC DANIT the opportunity to be represented by counsel, to examine and cross-examine witnesses and to call relevant witnesses.

Meanwhile, actress Jane Fonda brought her star power to Laguna Beach Monday to join a group of local lawmakers who called for an end to offshore oil drilling. A protester with a bullhorn heckled Fonda, who quipped, “It’s not like I’m not used to this.”

Fonda asked the activists to take a deep breath and then pointed out that “well over half of the oxygen you just breathed in comes to us because of that,” pointing to the ocean.

Fonda argued that the existing oil rigs in California are “not safe and must be shut down and decommissioned,” but added, “This isn’t enough,” and society must quickly transition to more clean-energy initiatives.

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