HUNTINGTON BEACH, California – The owner of an undersea oil pipeline that spilled about 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean off Southern California last year will pay nearly $1 million in clean-up costs.
Orange County’s Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to settle a proposed claims settlement with Amplify Energy Corp. on the cost of dealing with the Huntington Beach spill last October.
The ruptured pipeline spilled about 94,600 liters of oil about 4 miles offshore. Though less severe than initially feared, the spill closed beaches for a week and fisheries for more than a month, oiling birds and threatening wetlands that Orange County communities are trying to restore.
Investigators believe the San Pedro Bay Pipeline, which carried crude oil from offshore oil platforms to shore, was weakened when a cargo ship’s anchor caught on it in high winds in January 2021, months before it finally ruptured on October 1
Houston-based Amplify Energy sued two container ship operators and an organization that helps monitor maritime traffic, saying they failed to prevent the spill. The lawsuit alleges that two vessels dropped anchor across the pipeline in January 2021.
The $956,352 Orange County settlement includes about $238,000 for the county Public Works Department, which built sandbars and placed barriers to prevent oil from polluting sensitive wetlands, the Orange County Register reported.
The money also goes to the county’s health department, the Sheriff’s Department, which operates the Harbor Patrol, and reimburses the county for legal expenses and hiring of contractors and environmental consultants.
Meanwhile, Amplify and two subsidiaries were indicted by a federal grand jury last year on a misdemeanor charge of illegally draining oil. The indictment alleges that when repeated alarms signaled a rupture in the offshore pipeline, fatigued workers failed to act properly and kept the pipeline operating for hours.
Amplify has said the company’s employees at home and abroad believe they are responding to false positives of a faulty system.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/pipeline-company-pay-nearly-1m-california-oil-spill-huntington-beach-rcna40566 Pipeline company pays nearly $1 million over California oil spill off Huntington Beach