Settlement of $ 230 million reached due to California oil spill in 2015 Texas News

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The owner of an oil pipeline that dumped thousands of barrels of crude oil on southern California beaches in 2015 has agreed to pay $ 230 million to settle a class action lawsuit by fishermen and property owners, court documents show.

The Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline has agreed to pay $ 184 million to fishermen and fish processors and $ 46 million to coastal property owners in a settlement reached Friday, according to court documents.

The company did not accept liability in the contract, which arose after seven years of litigation. The agreement still needs to pass a public hearing and needs the approval of a federal court. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for June 10.

“This settlement should serve as a reminder that pollution simply cannot be a cost of doing business and that corporations will be responsible for the environmental damage they cause,” said Matthew Preusch, one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs.

Plains All American Pipeline officials did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press on Saturday asking for comment.

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On May 19, 2015, oil leaked from a corroded pipeline north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles, spreading along the coasts of Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

It was the worst coastal oil spill in California since 1969, blackening popular beaches for miles, killing or destroying hundreds of seabirds, seals and other wildlife, and harming tourism and fishing.

A federal investigation showed that 123,000 liters were spilled, and other estimates by experts in fluid mechanics were as high as 630,000 liters.

Federal inspectors found that Plains made several preventable mistakes, failed to quickly detect a pipeline rupture, and responded too slowly as oil leaked toward the ocean.

Plains operators, working from a Texas control room more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) away, turned off the leak alarm and, unaware that a spill had occurred, restarted the bleeding line. , after it shut down, which only made it worse, inspectors found.

Plains apologized for the spill and paid for the cleanup. The company’s 2017 annual report estimates spill costs at $ 335 million, with no lost revenue. The company also revised its plans to address the onshore pipeline spill.

In 2020, Plains agreed to pay the federal government $ 60 million to settle allegations that it violated security laws. She also agreed to bring her national pipeline system in line with federal safety laws.

The spill paralyzed the local oil business as the pipeline was used to transport crude oil to refineries from seven offshore platforms, including three owned by Exxon Mobil, which have been dormant since the spill.

Plains has applied for permission to build a new pipeline, but is facing a tough battle.

The emerging debate is taking place in the midst of the global climate crisis and as California moves towards a ban on gas vehicles and oil drilling, while record gas prices have shocked consumers at the pumps.

A comprehensive environmental review of the pipeline plan is not expected until October.

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