Update from Senator Padilla – Orange County Oil Spill Cleanup and Accountability

Dear Friend, 

Last week, I toured and received a briefing on the emergency response to the devastating oil spill off the coast of Orange County. This environmental catastrophe was preventable and must never happen again. As I continue to monitor the cleanup, I am also working to both ensure accountability for this spill and to prevent future spills.

Transparency and Accountability

California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta joined me for the briefing on the oil spill in Orange County and announced an investigation into the spill. I am fully supportive of the Attorney General’s investigation on behalf of Californians. 

Senator Feinstein and I have also called on the U.S. Department of Transportation, which has oversight over pipeline safety, to investigate the pipeline leak that caused the oil spill off the coast of California. We asked that the results of the investigation be made public and for the Department to commit to clear timelines for implementing safety regulations such as inspections, automatic shut-off valves, and automated leak detection systems for existing pipelines. We also asked the Department to ensure that the company operating the pipeline properly notified authorities when it first discovered the leak, and to provide a thorough public report to Congress on its findings.

You can read more about our request here

Banning New Offshore Drilling

In January, I joined Senator Feinstein in introducing the West Coast Ocean Protection Act, which would prohibit new oil and gas drilling off the West Coast. The urgency to pass this legislation has only become clearer with this latest spill. The trade-off between oil production and environmental harm is simply not one we should be making any longer. Through the budget bill currently being debated in Congress, we have an opportunity to build a clean energy future and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. I was joined by fellow West Coast Senators in urging Senate Leaders to include our ban on new West Coast oil and gas drilling in the budget bill.

You can read our letter to Senate Leadership here

Available Resources and How You Can Help

As we grapple with this environmental catastrophe, I have been inspired by the resilience of our coastal communities. You can find updates on the oil spill cleanup at socalspillresponse.com. This website also includes resources for Californians to volunteer with the oil spill cleanup and report tar balls at local beaches.

Please continue to stay safe, 


Alex Padilla
United States Senator for California

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