pipeline managers plead guilty to pollution after oil spill

The company that operates the pipeline will pay nearly 13 million dollars for its responsibility in this environmental drama that occurred last October on the Californian coast.

The managers of a pipeline that caused an oil spill last October off the coast of California have pleaded guilty to pollution and will pay nearly $13 million, they announced on Friday.

Amplify Energy, the Texas company that operates this pipeline with two of its subsidiaries, has reached a guilty plea in federal court, implying its admission of responsibility for this environmental tragedy.

The three companies will have to pay 7.1 million dollars in fines and 5.8 million to compensate for the costs of cleanup.

A 24 km oil spill south of Los Angeles

About 95,000 liters of crude oil had caused an oil spill on 24 kilometers of the Pacific coast in October 2021, between Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach, famous beaches south of Los Angeles known as much for their surfers as for their dolphins.

Local authorities had closed the beaches, studded with dead birds and fish stranded, some bearing traces of oil. Fishing was also banned in the area.

Underwater inspections had revealed that a large segment of the pipeline had been moved, and detected a tear of about thirty centimeters in the pipe, probably caused according to the investigators by a ship’s anchor.

Amplify Energy claims to have worked “in cooperation” with the authorities to resolve the problem and has agreed to install new leak detectors and carry out more regular inspections on the pipeline.

“criminal conduct”

These companies “now accept responsibility for criminal conduct,” said federal prosecutor Stephanie Christensen.

The agreement must still be submitted for approval in court before entering into force.

The disaster had revived the debate on the presence of oil platforms only a few kilometers from the coasts of densely populated Southern California.

Leave a Comment