Oil spill in waters off Huntington Beach, where were the federal regulators?
A dreadful oil spill from an offshore oil rig has fouled the beaches of wonderful Huntington Beach, California -- home of the surfer, the COVID lockdown protests, and the California conservative voter.
Leftists are using the problem to call for an end to offshore drilling. As the Los Angeles Times opined:
In one of the biggest California spills in decades, a pipeline connected to an offshoot oil platform off the coast of Huntington Beach released at least 126,000 gallons of crude over the weekend.
By Sunday morning, the smell of diesel and tar hovered in the coastal air as clumps of crude washed ashore, along with dead birds and fish. Out on the water, a vast oil slick larger than city of Santa Monica had formed. And crews worked feverishly to clean up the oil that had seeped into the delicate coastal marshlands and to prevent greater damage to this essential habitat for migratory birds. Orange County officials estimate that the affected beaches could be closed for weeks or even months.
This is why the U.S. needs to end coastal oil drilling.
Which is a load of hooey. California in fact has seen many of its beaches beset by all kinds of befouling leaks. Last July and August there was this one near Santa Monica:
MALIBU, CA — Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials Tuesday extended a water use warning for swimmers and surfers near the Santa Monica Pier due to a 17-million-gallon sewage spill in the Santa Monica Bay last month.
...and no calls to shut down sewage plants and turn to sandboxes for toilet service.
Fact is, California needs the oil. What's happened is absolutely terrible -- I just cringe when I see on the map that beautiful, beautiful Laguna Beach is affected. But to shut oil production down is absolute idiocy, not when the U.S. has lost its oil production supremacy and finds itself at the mercy of petrotyrants. Not when California is inviting millions of illegal immigrants in, imagining that they'll never use the gas station, the stove, the lights, or the air conditioning. Unfortunately for the left, oil production is critical and California has some of the nation's richest oilfields. Los Angeles was originally an oil town and many of its main thoroughfares and landmarks bear the names of the early oil barons. Old oil derricks still decorate parts of Beverly Hills, while old gas flares near the La Brea Tar Pits (tar, oil, get it? ) once in a while come up through the sidewalk grates. Bakersfield is a major city to the north that remains all about oil.
But the leftists want to shut down oil as if that hasn't been what they've always wanted for various leftist reasons. They're blaming the oil itself and the beleaguered company tenant when they should be blaming the owner.
Who's the landlord here? Yep, the left's beloved federal government, notably the Department of the Interior. Who runs that? As I wrote here, someone who's in over her head:
Take his nomination of Deb Haaland, a congresswoman representing greater Albuquerque, who's a registered member of a Native American tribe...and a tax cheat, energy ignoramus, persistent welfare recipient, and marijuana-booster, who has now advanced in the Senate as his nominee to run the $12-billion U.S. Department of the Interior. Her trump card in qualifications after all those red flags? That she's half-Native American and has mastered the identity politics games of victimhood.
What could go wrong?
As this Los Angeles Times story notes, federal inspections have been sloppy:
In 2018, Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director for the Center for Biological Diversity, and other environmental advocates took part in a fact-finding cruise along the California coast to inspect about a dozen oil platforms, some more than 40 years old. They saw rusted pipes and equipment and used an optical gas imaging camera to document flaring incidents on several platforms, she said.
“So much of that infrastructure is old and corroded,” Sakashita said. “[The platforms] should have been decommissioned. ... It’s not a robust system of oversight."
Although California banned new offshore oil operations decades ago, platforms such as Elly continue to operate in federal waters — more than three miles from the coast.
That laxness may have brought these consequences -- and it occurred in this environment:
Donald Boesch, who served on a federal commission formed to make recommendations after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, said the infrastructure used by California’s offshore drillers is decades old, making it prone to failure.
But environmentalists say the spill raises serious questions about whether federal regulatory agencies are adequately inspecting the aging equipment.
Which all rather suggests that the feds were asleep at the wheel.
Much of this laxness was seen during the Deepwater Horizon spill of 2010, where a swampy revolving door existed between regulators and oil producers, and enforcement actions seemed to be premised on how many campaign contributions went to certain pols. It's too soon to tell if this is what was going on here at this point.
But we do know who the owner of this mess is, and who should be looked at for blame in this, and it's not the bubbling crude.
Image: Screen shot from Los Angeles Times video, posted on YouTube.
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