California oil spill: Judge approves settlement


A judge has approved a $230 million lawsuit by the owners of a pipeline that spilled more than 140,000 gallons of crude oil into the sea off California in 2015, lawyers announced Thursday.

A federal judge in Los Angeles gave final approval Tuesday to settle a class-action lawsuit that blames All American Pipeline, LP and Plains Pipeline, LP for the May 2015 oil spill. off the coast of Santa Barbara.

A corroded undersea water pipe broke off north of Refugio State Beach in Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles. All American Pipeline later estimated that 142,800 gallons had overflowed.

This is the worst coastal California oil spill since 1969. It blacks popular beaches for miles, kills or contaminates hundreds of seabirds, seals and other wildlife, and at the same time. hurt tourism and fishing.

A press release from the law firms that filed the lawsuit said: “Due to failed maintenance and extensive pipeline corrosion, the pipeline broke and spilled, devastating the fishing industry and contaminate coastal properties from Santa Barbara County to Los Angeles County.”

Those who believe they may be entitled to some amount can submit a claim until October 31.

The companies did not admit liability in the settlement, reached in May after seven years of legal wrangling.

Federal inspectors discovered that Plains made a number of preventable errors, failing to detect pipeline breaks quickly and reacting too slowly when oil flowed into the sea.

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 the pipeline system across the country in compliance with federal safety laws.

Plains has applied for permission to build a new pipeline but it is facing an uphill battle.

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