Oil firms are fined $230 MILLION after pipeline burst off California and leaked 140,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean – killing hundreds of marine life
- A judge has approved a $230 million lawsuit settlement by the owners of a pipeline that spilled more than 140,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean
- A broken onshore pipeline near Santa Barbara, California spewed oil down a storm drain and into the ocean for several hours before it was shut off
- The rupture occurred on an 11-mile-long underground pipe owned by Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline and and Plains Pipeline
- It blackened popular beaches for thousands, killing or fouling hundreds of seabirds, seals and other wildlife and hurting tourism and fishing
- The pipeline is part of a larger oil transport network centered in Kern County and was moving oil between facilities in Las Flores and Gaviota
A judge has approved a $230 million lawsuit settlement by the owners of a pipeline that spilled more than 140,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean off California in 2015, lawyers announced Thursday.
A federal judge in Los Angeles gave final approval on Tuesday to a settlement of a class-action suit that blamed All American Pipeline, LP and Plains Pipeline, LP for the May 2015 spill off the Santa Barbara coast.
The corroded undersea pipeline ruptured north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles.
All American Pipeline later estimated that 142,800 gallons of oil had been spilled.
Volunteers fill buckets with oil near Refugio State Beach after an oil spill north of Goleta, California in May 2015
An oil-covered brown pelican struggles for its life after the ruptured pipeline spilled tens of thousands of gallons of oil along the Santa Barbara Coast in May 2015
A marine scientist conducts natural resource damage assessments in the aftermath of the oil spill in May 2015 along the Gaviota coast, in Santa Barbara, California
It was the worst California coastal oil spill since 1969. It blackened popular beaches for thousands, killing or fouling hundreds of seabirds, seals and other wildlife and hurting tourism and fishing.
‘Due to failed maintenance and extensive pipeline corrosion, the pipeline ruptured and spilled, devastating the fishing industry and soiling coastal properties from Santa Barbara County to Los Angeles County,’ said a press statement from the law firms that filed the suit.
People who believe they may be entitled to some of the money have until Oct. 31 to submit claims.
The companies did´t admit liability in the settlement agreement, which was reached in May following seven years of legal wrangling.
A worker removes oil from the beach at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, California in 2015
Plastic buckets with oil collected from the beach were filled to the brim and placed at the side at Refugio State Beach in California where the cleanup took several weeks
Two birds covered in oil sit on a rock near Refugio State Beach in May 2015
Federal inspectors found that Plains had made several preventable errors, failed to quickly detect the pipeline rupture and responded too slowly as oil flowed toward the ocean.
Plains apologized for the spill and paid for the costly cleanup. In 2020, Plains agreed to pay $60 million to the federal government to settle allegations that it violated safety laws. It also agreed to bring its nationwide pipeline system into compliance with federal safety laws.
Plains has applied for permission to build a new pipeline but it is facing an uphill battle.
The spill began with a ruptured 24 inch line that spilled into a culvert and through a drainage pipe onto the beach below
Runoff from the oil spill washed up on a beach following the May 2015 spill
Staff members and volunteers work to clean oil off a brown pelican at the International Bird Rescue office after a broken onshore pipeline in near Santa Barbara spewed oil down a storm drain and into the ocean for several hours before it was shut off