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Coast Guard and local San Franciscans respond to Bay Area oil spill

November 9 '07: The Associated Press reported that a 58,000-gallon oil spill in San Francisco Bay has prompted a cleanup and response effort from local residents and environmental groups working to contain the slick which has spread at least 15 miles out into the Pacific Ocean. To help with the cleanup and response efforts, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that local residents are aiding emergency crews who have established remote and mobile operations units along the beaches.

However, the Coast Guard's response has come under fire the AP reported. "More than 12 hours after the incident, Coast Guard officials were still saying just 140 gallons had leaked." San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome's office told reporters that a lack of timely information caused a delay in the city's response efforts. "We would have responded differently if we had accurate information from the get-go," Newsome's spokesman Nathan Ballard said.

According to the AP, "The oil spilled from a South Korea-bound container ship when it struck a tower supporting the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in dense fog Wednesday. The accident did not damage the span, but the vessel's hull was gashed, officials said."

The Chronicle reported that the spill has killed hundreds of sea birds arriving in the area for winter migration. "Bird and animal lovers rushed to the beaches to help with the cleanup Thursday, only to find that there was little they could do without proper equipment." The birds who were able to be save "were sent to a rehabilitation center near Fairfield for cleaning, a process that will take from seven to ten days."

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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