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Orange County Oil Spill Lawsuit

SSMS joins forces with veteran oil spill lawyers Herman Herman & Katz for Huntington Beach oil spill lawsuit

SSMS Trial Lawyers are partnering with the veteran oil spill lawyers at New Orleans law firm Herman, Herman & Katz for our Orange County oil spill lawsuit. View our Orange County oil spill official resources page or read on for more information.

In 2010, after the infamous BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Herman, Herman & Katz partner Steve Herman was appointed by the court overseeing all litigation for the spill to serve as Co-Lead Counsel for the plaintiffs. Herman represented all businesses, individuals, and local governments involved in the BP oil spill litigation, and led the charge to hold BP accountable for its gross failures that led to the tragic incident.

If you or your business has been affected, you need a proven, expert Orange County oil spill attorney, to fight for you until you receive all the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today or learn more about our Huntington Beach oil spill lawsuit below.

Ship’s Anchor May Be Responsible for Orange County Oil Spill

A massive oil spill in Orange County on October 2, 2021, may have been caused by the anchor of a commercial ship, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The LA Times reported on October 4 that the anchor may have dragged a pipeline from a rig run by Amplify Energy as much as 150 feet, just off the coast of Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach. The Coast Guard is investigating whether the ship’s captain was aware of the dragging.

The day before, officials warned of an “environmental catastrophe,” as more than 3,400 barrels worth of oil leaked from the rig, with much of it washing up on beaches just south of Los Angeles. In all, the spill leaked about 144,000 gallons over an area of 13 square miles.

The spill’s impact on fish, wildlife, and the commercial fishing, tourism, and shipping industries could be significant.

The oil spill occurred just a few months after a large raw sewage spill from the Hyperion Water Treatment Plant struck El Segundo, just 30 miles north of Huntington Beach. Read more about SSMS’s El Segundo sewage spill litigation here.

Orange County oil spill
oil spill in the ocean. sea pollution concept image.

Huntington Beach Oil Spill Lawsuit and Litigation

U.S. Representative Mike Levin of San Juan Capistrano said at a news conference on October 4 that he had introduced new legislation to ban all offshore drilling.

“There is no offshore drilling that is truly safe,” he said.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley added that the Coast Guard and California Department of Fish and Wildlife are conducting their own investigation — independent of any reporting from Amplify or the company’s divers.

“We’re not going to rely on the company to investigate itself,” she said.

Meanwhile, Amplify Energy chief executive Martyn Willsher said the pipeline has been “meticulously maintained” and that it was shut down promptly and “suctioned at both ends” after the spill.

“Our employees live and work in these communities,” he said, “and we’re all deeply impacted and concerned about the impact.”

Amplify Energy emerged from bankruptcy in 2017 and has a record of violations and federal noncompliance.

Newsom Declares State of Emergency after Orange County Oil Spill

As crews frantically tried to control the spread of the Southern California oil spill on Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Orange County to help facilitate the cleanup efforts.

In a prepared statement, he said, “The state is moving to cut red tape and mobilize all available resources to protect public health and the environment.”

He added, “This incident serves as a reminder of the enormous cost fossil fuels have on our communities and the environment.”

Huntington Beach Oil Spill Impact on Fishing, Wildlife, Tourism, Shipping Industries

By the time Governor Newsom declared the state of emergency, Huntington Beach had already closed much of its shoreline due to the oil spill, and Orange County Health Officer Clayton Chau was urging people against swimming or gathering near affected beaches, since the vapors from the oil could be spread by the wind. Local officials are prepared to close more beaches, and perhaps Dana Point Harbor.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife also announced a ban on fishing and collecting shellfish on the night of October 3, as a result of the spill. The ban is in effect from Huntington Beach to Dana Point.

Oil has been seen washing up on the shores of Laguna Beach, Crescent Bay, and Shaw’s Cove, and as far south as San Diego County.

The Newport Beach recreational harbor was closed on October 4, and Laguna Beach’s chief of marine safety, Kevin Snow said the cleanup efforts were desperate.

“The entire city is a marine-protected area, which means we have sensitive marine habitat and wildlife here that is protected, and we need resources to protect this unique ecosystem,” he told the LA Times.

In Huntington Beach alone there were more than 2,000 feet of booms deployed to prevent the oil from spreading further into Talbert Marsh, an ecological reserve that spans more than 25 acres across from the beach. More than 3,000 gallons of oil were recovered from the waters in the first 48 hours of cleanup efforts.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said the county is building a sand berm to keep the oil from intruding further.

Cargo Ships and Supply-Chains Backlog to Blame for Orange County Oil Spill?

Cargo ships frequently pass over the area covered by the spread of the Huntington Beach oil spill, but the pandemic has created a backlog of dozens of container ships waiting to get into ports in Los Angeles, Long Beach, and nearby cities.

It is possible that one of these ships caused the spill by dropping anchor over a pipeline connecting the Amplify Energy platform to the shore.

Cargo ships in the Marine Exchange of Southern California are directed to drop anchor at designated anchorage points mapped with a circle to allow the ship room to swing around — but the established anchorages have all been full, so the Marine Exchange assigned ships further out into the harbor, in places that were not previously designated, according to the LA Times.

However, captains of these ships have electronic charts showing all known underwater hazards to avoid, including powerlines, internet cables, and pipelines.

Will there be a Huntington Beach Oil Spill settlement?

If You Are a Victim, Contact an Expert Orange County Oil Spill Lawyer Today

Investigations into the cause of the spill are ongoing, and no determination has been made yet as to who is at fault, but at least one Orange County oil spill lawsuit has already been filed. The suit alleges damages to a local business due to beach closures and personal injury to the plaintiff’s health due to exposure to harmful toxins as a result of the oil spill.

Find out more about Orange County oil spill class action lawsuits and which industries are affected, including the fishing industry, tourism industry, shipping industry, and other local small businesses — or learn about past major California oil spills, including any oil spill lawsuits, oil spill settlements, and oil spill litigation that occurred as a result.

If you have an Orange County oil spill claim, or if your livelihood or business has been negatively affected by the Orange County oil spill, an expert California oil spill lawyer is essential. Contact SSMS Trial Lawyers for a free consultation to find out what kind of compensation you can receive. If you have been prevented from making money or doing business, or if your health or lifestyle was seriously affected by the Amplify Energy oil spill, the experienced toxic environmental mass tort lawyers at SSMS will fight for you until you receive all the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.

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HUNTINGTON BEACH OIL SPILL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who is responsible for the oil spill in Huntington Beach?

On October 3, 2021, 126,000 gallons of oil leaked from an offshore rig run by Amplify Energy. The Coast Guard is investigating whether the spill was caused by a dropped anchor from a cargo ship striking a pipeline running between the rig and the coast.

How much oil spilled in Huntington Beach?

The Huntington Beach oil spill totaled about 3,000 barrels — or 126,000 gallons — of oil. It was not as significant as previous oil spills, though the harm was significant.

The largest oil spill in California state history occurred off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969, when as many as 100,000 barrels of crude oil were spilled over the course of 10 days — providing the inspiration for the annual Earth Day holiday.

What beaches are closed in California due to the oil spill?

Huntington State Beach was shut down in the immediate aftermath of the spill, with the oil slick impacting a nearly six-mile stretch from the Huntington Beach pier to the Balboa Pier. The Santa Ana River jetty to the Huntington Beach Pier is also closed, and the oil infiltrated the Talbert Marshlands.

Officials in Newport Beach asked people not to enter the water on October 3, but stopped short of closing the ocean to the public. In Laguna Beach, the city closed beaches to the public at 9 p.m. on October 3.

What caused the Southern California oil spill?

While the platform the spill originated from was run by Amplify Energy, a company that recently emerged from bankruptcy and has a history of federal violations and non-compliance, the Coast Guard is investigating whether the spill was caused by a cargo ship dropping anchor over a pipeline running from the Amplify rig to the shore.

Due to the pandemic, a backlog of container ships are crowding the ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Orange County, and some have been forced to drop anchor outside of designated anchorage points mapped out by the Marine Exchange of Southern California. However, captains of these ships have electronic charts showing all known underwater hazards to avoid, including powerlines, internet cables, and pipelines.

How are fishermen affected by oil spills?

The fishing industry is one of the most heavily impacted by oil spills. After the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf Coast, much of the fish and seafood in the area failed to recover. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries said the seafood harvest was still 50% lower than pre-spill levels even 10 years after the cleanup.

In all, the BP oil spill cut somewhere between $94.7 million and $1.6 million off the valuation of the commercial fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico, and cost the economy there as many as 9,000 jobs in the first eight months, according to a 2020 study by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.

What industries are affected by the Huntington Beach oil spill?

The shipping and tourism industries could also be heavily impacted by the Huntington Beach oil spill, depending on how long cleanup efforts take and beaches are closed. Cargo ships regularly traverse the area covered by the spread of the oil spill, and popular Orange County beach destinations could take years to fully recover.

Does oil spill damage last forever?

Consequences of oil spills can last for decades. In cases where oil has spilled in salt marshes or mangrove swamps, the effects can last longer, but in most cases environmental recovery is mostly completed in less than 10 years. With the Huntington Beach oil spill, officials have said that toxicity should fade fairly quickly, with the most concerning period passing in the immediate hours and days following the spill.

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