The Surfrider Foundation released a statement Monday in response to this weekend’s massive oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach, California. The spill, which reportedly was first noticed Friday night, began making national headlines Sunday when officials closed beaches with clean-up efforts were fully underway. By that point, the spill was believed to have dumped 126,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean.
“This accident is yet another stark reminder of how dangerous and dirty offshore oil and gas drilling can be,” Surfrider said Monday. In addressing the spill, the foundation said it plans to work with the company responsible to mitigate ecological harm as well as ‘research and development’ for future spill prevention. After noting that they are in contact with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and other agencies working on the incident, the statement focused mostly on what the local community can, or maybe shouldn’t do, in order to help.
“At this stage, the best thing to do is to support the agencies that are trying to minimize the damage to coastal ecosystems including beaches and wetlands,” they wrote, urging the public to take a hands-off approach.
“The public is discouraged from actively participating in the cleanup or trying to save oiled wildlife. The oil is highly toxic and you can cause more harm than good. It is imperative that only those with the proper training are involved with the cleanup. Members of the public should not go near the spill, as oil contains dangerous chemicals. The public can help by reporting oil or wildlife sightings and taking photos to document the disaster.”
“Sadly, once the oil is spilled it is too late. As we are again learning in Southern California, once the disaster has occurred we can only try to minimize the damage,” said Dr. Chad Nelsen, CEO of the Surfrider Foundation. “That is why the Surfrider Foundation has consistently opposed new offshore oil drilling and we ask you to join us in that opposition. We need a strong public response to combat special interests that are constantly pressing for more drilling along our precious coastlines.”
Resources and Ways to Help:
-Review Surfrider’s “Oil Spill Toolkit” that provides information about oil spill responses. Please note, response workers are not seeking volunteers and it is important that citizens do not attempt to clean up the oil. Visiting the area is strongly discouraged as oil contains numerous hazardous chemicals.
-If you’re interested in volunteering for upcoming cleanup opportunities, please text “oilspill” (one word) to 51555 or complete this form. You will be added to a list of interested volunteers and will receive updates on ways to get involved.
-If you find oiled or sick wildlife call the Oiled Wildlife Care Network at (877) 823-6962. People are being asked not to approach potentially affected wildlife, as you can cause more harm than good to the animals.
-You can join Surfrider in asking Congress to permanently ban new offshore drilling to stop future spill disasters. Take Action here.