More than 120,000 gallons of oil that spilled into the Pacific Ocean has reached the Southern California coastline, closing parts of the beach as officials warn residents to stay away from the slick.
Federal, state and local agencies are racing to determine the cause of the spill, which is at least 13 square miles in size, and mitigate its impacts.
“The ramifications will extend further than the visible oil and odor that our residents are dealing with at the moment. The impact to the environment is irreversible,” Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said in a statement on Saturday.
“We must identify the cause of today’s spill, and for the greater good of our cities, beaches, and coastal ecological habitat we need to understand how to prevent these incidences moving forward,” she added.
The cause of the spill remains under investigation, the U.S. Coast Guard said on Saturday. It announced that it was working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, local agencies and Beta Offshore, an oil production company, on the response.