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Morning Brief: OC Oil Spill, Tiny Homes, And Dragon Boating

Plastic bags full of oil debris sit on the shore of a channel with a worker in white coveralls and an orange life preserver coils yellow rope.
A worker with Patriot Environmental Services stands near bags of collected oil.
(Jill Replogle
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Oct. 4.

If there's any silver lining to hot weather in October, perhaps it's taking ongoing advantage of our local beaches (sand-drenched pumpkin carving, anyone?).

But over the weekend, a major oil spill deterred any would-be ocean-frolickers in Orange County. A leak from an oil rig off the coast of Newport Beach let out 126,000 gallons, contaminating the water and shore for 5.8 nautical miles. Slicks have reportedly been spotted from Corona del Mar in the south all the way north to Bolsa Chica in Huntington Beach.

To put the amount of oil spilled into perspective, it’s about one-quarter the amount of the 1990 Huntington Beach oil spill, when the American Trader oil tanker ran over its own anchor.

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The Coast Guard got their first tip about the disaster on Saturday morning, just after 9 a.m. From there, it was all hands on deck; local officials took to Twitter to push the feds to step in, and the Coast Guard teamed up with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response.

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Local officials from cities including Huntington Beach and Newport Beach asked residents to stay away from the affected areas. Volunteer bird watchers were scouring the area for distressed birds, however officials had only one confirmed report of a bird covered in oil as of Sunday afternoon.

The leaky rig is part of a trio operated by Beta Operating Company, and the Coast Guard is investigating the original location of the leak.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Before You Go ... It's Not Rowing, It's Dragon Boating

Member Roger Molina of Team DPW carries a dragon head to place on a dragon boat for demonstration in Irwindale on Sept. 18, 2021.
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)

My colleague Sharon McNary looked into the sport of dragon boat racing, and how it came to Southern California. She writes:

Dragon boat racing and festivals go back centuries, the story goes, commemorating the search for the body of Qu Yuan, a poet and minister who got crosswise with the ruling powers and drowned himself in 278 BC. The sport came to California in 1983 when Shanghai gifted three dragon boats to San Diego; a competition was held there and the winning team went on to win an international competition, the first team outside of Asia to do so.
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