The City of Newport Beach has declared a local emergency in response to the 126,000 gallon oil spill off of the coast of Newport Beach and surrounding cities.
The emergency declaration has been signed by City Manager Grace Leung and is expected to be ratified by the City Council at its next meeting on October 12.
The October 2 oil spill, which originated from a pipeline off the coast of Huntington Beach, has left oil sheen and tar on Newport’s beaches and prompted a temporary closure of the Newport Harbor Entrance Channel.
The state of California, the County of Orange and the cities of Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach have also issued emergency declarations in response to the spill.
Newport Beach has issued an advisory for the City’s beaches cautioning residents and visitors to avoid contact with ocean water and oiled areas of the beach.
The entrance to Newport Harbor is temporarily closed to help prevent oil from entering the harbor. All vessel activity can continue within the harbor itself. However, boats are prevented from entering or exiting the harbor at the Entrance Channel.
Members of the public are asked to avoid assisting with cleanup in the oiled areas, which is being conducted by trained spill response contractors. Public volunteers are not needed at this time and could hinder response efforts.
Members of the public are also advised to avoid contact with oiled wildlife. If anyone encounters oiled wildlife, please call (8770 823-6926. Stay away from tidepools and other sensitive wildlife habitat.
Newport Beach and other coastal cities are partnering with Surfrider to help coordinate volunteer opportunities in the near future. Register at www.cleanups.surfrider.org to be notified of future opportunities. Volunteers can also register with the state Dept. of Fish and Wildlife at https://calspillwatch.wildlife.ca.gov/volunteer.
Those who wish to donate to the response can go to www.surfrider.org/donate. All funds collected for the Orange County spill will be used for environmental cleanup, wildlife rescue and other needs directly related to the spill
The exact cause of the spill remains under investigation. The City is continuing to monitor this evolving incident and will release additional information as it becomes available.
For more information and updates, please visit the official incident response website at: www.socalspillresponse.com.