Supervisor Doug Chaffee, Fourth District

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October 12, 2021

On Saturday, October 2, 2021, a disaster occurred in Orange County as an oil slick (Oil Spill) was reported approximately 3-4 miles off the coast of Newport Beach. My Board colleagues and I proclaimed a local state of emergency during the October 5, 2021 Board of Supervisors meeting in response to the oil spill. Governor Gavin Newsom also proclaimed a state of emergency in Orange County in response to the Oil Spill.

A Unified Command has been established to respond to the Oil Spill with the U.S. Coast Guard as the lead agency, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife's Office of Spill Prevention and Response (CDFW-OSPR), and Amplify Energy. Many County departments, cities, and San Diego County have also been assisting with the clean up operation. A website has been created to provide updates on the Oil Spill. For more information, please visit

Cause of Oil Spill

The cause of the oil spill remains under investigation. However, preliminary results of the investigation indicate the crude oil that spilled into the ocean originated from a pipeline that is connected to Oil Platform Elly, which is located off the coast of Huntington Beach and owned by Amplify Energy. The Unified Command contracted commercial divers to identify the source of the leak. The divers on Monday validated Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) footage showing no indications of additional oil release at the potential source of the leak. Diver reports show that a 4,000-foot section of the 17.7-mile-long pipeline was displaced, with a maximum lateral movement of approximately 105 feet. In addition, a 13-inch split was identified in the pipe. Due to the displacement of and fracture in the pipeline, the investigation reports it was likely struck and dragged by a large anchor.

Clean Up Operations

In Orange and San Diego Counties, the public can expect to see Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams and work crews equipped in protective gear, monitoring, inspecting, and cleaning the beaches to ensure that appropriate cleanup actions are taken.

The public may encounter tarballs when visiting San Diego and Orange County beaches. Oil contains hazardous chemicals, and for safety reasons, we recommend not handling tarballs or any oil. If beachgoers encounter tarballs, we encourage them to email If skin contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water or baby oil. Avoid using solvents, gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, or similar products on the skin. These products, when applied to skin, present a greater health hazard than the tarball itself. More information about tarballs is available here:

Contracted cleanup teams are working throughout the Orange County coastline. The response is currently a 24/7 operation and response efforts are scheduled to continue until federal and state officials determine that the response to the crude oil is complete.

Beach and Harbor Closures

Specific beach openings and closing statuses are managed by local governments. Please visit for the latest information regarding beach status in Orange County.

For more information about harbor status please visit:

Personal & Business Impacts

A claims number has been established for any individuals or businesses that may have been impacted by the oil spill incident. Please call 1-866-985-8366 and reference “Pipeline P00547”.

Decontamination of Vessels

A plan to decontaminate recreational vessels is in progress by the Office of Spill Prevention and Response. For concerns specific to recreational vessel decontamination, please call (866) 985-8366.

Wildlife Impacts

The Oil Wildlife Care Network has been activated and is rescuing and caring for oiled wildlife affected by the oil spill. If local residents to the spill site see oiled wildlife, please call 1-877-UCD-OWCN (823-6926) and report immediately. PLEASE DO NOT PICK UP OILED WILDLIFE.


Oil Spill cleanup requires specialized training and protective equipment. Individuals interested in volunteering can find information at or call the volunteer hotline at 1-800-228-4544.

Fisheries Closure 

For updates on the fisheries closures, visit


Thank you for the outpouring of generosity in support of wildlife care during the current Oil Spill. At this time, all necessary supplies and equipment are provided and additional spill-related donation items are not needed at this time.

For updated information, follow:

Doug Chaffee
Supervisor, Orange County Board of Supervisors