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Major Oil Spill

SLIPPERY MESS Workers use skimmers and floating barriers to clean up oil that spilled into Talbert Marsh, in Huntington Beach, California, on October 3. MYUNG J. CHUN—LOS ANGELES TIMES/GETTY IMAGES

A faulty underwater pipeline has leaked at least 126,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean. The leak happened off the coast of California on October 2. The spill may be the largest to occur in California since 2015.

An oily sheen covered the water for miles along the coast of Orange County. Black globs washed up on the shore. Beaches in the area could be closed for weeks or even months.

Coast Guard crews laid floating barriers on the water to contain the oil. Divers are searching the pipeline for the source of the leak.

Environmentalists say oil spills have long-lasting effects on wildlife. Birds get oil on their feathers and can’t fly. Toxic fumes make it hard for whales and dolphins to breathe. Some animals die. “The oil spill just shows how dirty and dangerous oil drilling is,” Miyoko Sakashita says. She’s a director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Kim Carr is the mayor of Huntington Beach. “This oil spill [is] one of the most devastating situations that our community has dealt with in decades,” she says. “We are doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our residents, our visitors, and our natural habitats.”