Beaches are expected to be closed for months as work begins on the cleanup of more than 130,000 gallons of oil across a 13-square-mile area.
Republican congresswoman Michelle Steel, whose district includes Huntington Beach, on Sunday wrote to Joe Biden requesting the disaster declaration for Orange County, which would commit federal assistance to the recovery efforts.
The leak was reported to have started three miles off the coast of Newport Beach. It spread north past Huntington Beach and the Talbert Marsh wetland to reach the shoreline of Long Beach, about 25 miles from Los Angeles.
While the US Coast Guard said 3,150 gallons of oil had been recovered, the areas beaches are expected to be closed for months as tens of thousands more gallons of oil remain.
They have deployed 5,360 feet of a floating barrier to help contain the spread of the oil across the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
“It is imperative that the Federal Government assist in recovery efforts. Constituents who live along the shoreline are already reporting oil on the beach and strong odours,” Ms Steel wrote to Mr Biden.
“Officials are already responding to protect sea life. Dead fish and birds are already being reported on the beaches and shorelines. I have serious concerns about the environmental impacts of the spill.”
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies