Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing serial existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

For Immediate Release


Press Release

Oil Spill in Southern California Highlights Offshore Drilling’s Huge Risks

Disaster near Huntington Beach will devastate wildlife for years to come.

The environmental disaster that spilled at least 126,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean off Orange County this weekend is highlighting the massive risks of offshore drilling. The oil spill, first detected on Saturday around Huntington Beach, is disastrous for wildlife and will harm many species for months and years to come.

“I’ve seen the aging oil platforms off Huntington Beach up close, and I know it’s past time to decommission these time bombs,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Even after fines and criminal charges, the oil industry is still spilling and leaking into California’s coastal waters. The only solution is to shut this dirty business down.”

Oil from the spill, which was caused by a pipeline leak, is seeping into nearby wetlands, including the Talbert Marsh. The area is a biological hotspot in Southern California and home to more than 80 bird species, including the endangered snowy plover. There have been reports of dead fish and birds along the coast, but the true environmental damages will not be known for many months.

California oil platforms like Platform Elly, where the spill occurred, were built four decades ago and have long outlived their expected lifespan. In 1999 the operator of Platform Elly was fined for another spill.

“Much of this infrastructure is old and corroded,” Sakashita said. “It’s time to finally decommission all of these rigs and pipelines. There simply isn’t a safe way to drill for oil.”

Offshore oil production also contributes to the climate crisis.

Seven offshore drilling platforms on the California coast have been shut down since the 2015 failure of Plains All American Pipeline’s coastal oil pipeline caused Refugio Oil Spill. The Center has calculated that production from those platforms could have added 33.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution to the atmosphere. That’s the equivalent of burning almost 37 billion pounds of coal.

The company that owned the pipeline in the 2015 spill was criminally prosecuted and found guilty by a jury in 2018.


At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. 

Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on 'Outright Bigotry and Hate'

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."

Jessica Corbett ·

Win for Alabama Workers as NLRB Orders New Union Vote After Amazon's Alleged Misconduct

A union leader said the decision confirmed that "Amazon's intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace."

Jessica Corbett ·

'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

"It's time to put differences aside and return to the Iran nuclear deal," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·

'That's for Them to Decide': UK Secretary Rebuked for Claiming Vaccine Patent Waiver Won't Be 'Helpful' to Global Poor

One U.K. lawmaker asked when the government would "start putting the need to end this pandemic in front of the financial interests of Big Pharma?"

Andrea Germanos ·

Shell Slammed for Plan to Blast South African Coastline for Oil and Gas During Whale Season

"We cannot allow climate criminals, like Shell, to plunder in the name of greed," said Greenpeace.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo