Plains All American Face Criminal Charges After California Spill

A California jury on Friday found Plains All American Pipeline company guilty on criminal charges from a major oil spill three years ago along the Pacific shoreline near Santa Barbara.

The spill ranks as the largest in more than four decades to hit the northwest coast of Los Angeles.

Crude oil gushed onto Refugio State Beach shores and into the Pacific after an underground pipeline badly worn by corrosion ruptured along a coastal highway west of Santa Barbara on May 19, 2015. Hundreds of sea bird and marine mammals died because of the spill.

The company estimated as much as 3,400 barrels of crude oil escaped into the environment at the edge of a national marine sanctuary and state-designated underwater preserve rich in marine life.

The company faces at least $1.5 million in penalties if Friday’s conviction is sustained  according to a chief deputy district attorney for Santa Barbara County.

The penalty is a small fraction of the $150 million that Plains said it had spent on spill response and cleanup costs by the time the criminal case was brought in 2016.

Plains was convicted of discharging crude oil into state waters, a felony, and for eight misdemeanor offenses, including the failure to immediately report the spill, the chief deputy district attorney added.

One of Plains’ employees, an environmental and regulatory compliance specialist, was originally charged in the case as well, but those charges, and dozens of others against the company, were dismissed before the trial.

The court specifically found the company at fault for failing to protect the pipeline from corrosion as well as failing to detect and report spills immediately.


Enbridge Line 3 Trespassers Convicted by Jury, Face Jail Time

Two individuals have been convicted by a jury for disorderly conduct and obstruction of an officer after a protest at Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 construction site in Wisconsin late last summer.

The 24-year-old male and 26-year-old female were found guilty of trespassing on the site where Enbridge was working to replace a 12.5-mile segment of their pipeline, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

According to investigations, the 24-year-old secured himself to an excavator at the site as the other person involved streamed the event on social media on August 29, 2017. Both refused requests from sheriffs to leave the site.

The individual who streamed the trespassing was sentenced to 20 days in jail and ordered to pay fines. The judge emphasized that “this type of behavior will not be tolerated” and commented on how these actions endanger all those involved.

The 24-year-old who secured himself to an excavator has still not been sentenced.

Rapid City Journal