Tar balls believed to be from Amplify oil spill found on Laguna Beach coastline

A clean-up team is slated Sunday to remove a number of tar balls discovered on an outcropping of rock along Laguna Beach believed to be related to an Amplify Energy pipeline rupture in October 2021 that leaked 25,000 gallons of oil into the ocean.

Crews responded to the site in Laguna Beach today where weathered tar balls were discovered that matched product from a pipeline spill in October 2021. The team evaluated the impacted area and plan for removal tomorrow.

— CDFW Spill Prevention & Response (@CalSpillWatch) November 6, 2022

On Oct. 26, a state laboratory determined that the chemical composition of the weathered tar balls attached to the rocks matched that from the oil spill, Steve Gonzalez, a spokesperson for the state Office of Spill Prevention and Response, said Saturday.

It is believed that after the spill the tar balls were covered with sand that was washed away recently due to coastal storms, Gonzalez said. The specific location where the tar balls were found was not immediately available.

Amplify and state investigators have said the pipeline ruptured after a ship anchor, or multiple anchors from more than one ship, dragged over the pipe months before the leak.

Amplify pleaded no contest to federal and state criminal charges related to its response to the leakage and has been required to pay $50 million to individuals and businesses affected by the spill.

The clean-up team will include personnel from Amplify, the U.S. Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Office of Spill Prevention and Response and the county of Orange.

There will be no beach closures as a result of the clean-up, Gonzalez said.



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