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Fed offers loans to victims of California oil spill

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) – The federal government will provide disaster loans to businesses affected by an oil spill that shut down southern California shores earlier this month, it was announced Wednesday.

The US Small Business Administration has approved disaster relief in the form of low-interest title loans for Orange County, where the spill occurred, as well as neighboring counties of Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.

The agency declared an “economic disaster” for the counties, offering loans to small businesses and agricultural cooperatives and private non-profit organizations.

The deadline to apply for the loans is July 27, 2022. Applicants can apply online at: https://disasterloanassistance.sba.gov/.

About 25,000 gallons (94,635 liters) of crude oil escaped from a broken pipeline off Huntington Beach, shutting off the shore in the self-proclaimed “Surf City USA” for over a week. The local economy has been shaken up. Nearby beaches and local fisheries have been closed, a popular air show has been canceled, and local shops have been hit hard.

The cause of the leak, confirmed on October 2, is still under investigation. Federal investigators are investigating whether a container ship anchored in a January storm may have dragged anchor, hanging up the pipeline.

It is not known why the leak occurred eight months later, and authorities are also investigating whether other anchors struck and weakened the pipeline or whether a pre-existing condition of the line was to blame.

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