The Feds issued an order Wednesday to make it crystal clear to Plains All American Pipeline the company finishes the cleanup of the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Coast Guard issued the joint Clean Water Act order to ensure the cleanup of heavy crude on land, at the shoreline and in the ocean, to contain the oil and to prevent further contamination.
Representatives from the two agencies said such an order is common in spills and is not an indication that Plains All America was shirking its responsibility.
The company also said it is coming closer to excavating and removing the burst section of pipeline, saying it could happen soon.
Officials will then take the broken pipe to a secure location by an independent contractor under the supervision of federal regulators, company officials said at the news conference.
The spill blackened area beaches and created a 10-square-mile slick in the ocean after the onshore pipeline ruptured May 19.
Divers exploring the extent of the spill found some tar balls in seaweed on the ocean floor, but it’s not clear whether they came from the spill or natural seepage.
Sixteen birds — mostly brown pelicans — and nine marine mammals, including dolphins and sea lions, have been found dead.