As Bay Area residents braved noxious oil to rescue oil-covered seabirds, officials asked why the emergency response to Wednesday's spill had been "unusually slow." The oil slick spread dozens of miles along the San Francisco and Marin coastlines, contaminating beaches and coating marine life, in the hours before the Coast Guard disclosed the scope of the spill, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Residents called the oil-coated birds floundering in the surf "just heartbreaking." Hundreds of birds are injured or dead, and alarmed residents say anemic cleanup efforts didn't begin until late last night. A Coast Guard spokesman explaining the delayed response said rescuers were "kind of busy...figuring this stuff out."