Plains All American Pipeline Fined $3.3 Million for California Disaster

A pipeline company with Oklahoma ties was slapped with a $3.3 million fine on Thursday for a 2015 oil pipeline rupture that contaminated beaches along the California coast.

Federal inspectors determined that Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline “made several preventable errors, failed to quickly detect the pipeline rupture and responded too slowly as oil flowed toward the ocean,” according to an Associated Press report.

The troubled company initially estimated the Refugio State Beach oil spill at 21,000 gallons but later revised its figures to 142,000 gallons. Located northwest of Los Angeles in Santa Barbara County, the rupture killed marine wildlife and damaged fishing and tourism while marring several popular beaches along the Pacific Ocean. The spill originated from a two-foot-diameter corroded underground pipeline.

Federal prosecutors were seeking more than $1 billion in penalties against Plains All American Pipeline. Additional damages may be levied at a restitution hearing scheduled for July 10.

Cleanup costs were estimated at $335 million in the company’s 2017 annual report.

“We take our responsibility to safely deliver energy resources very seriously, and we are committed to doing the right thing,” said Brad Leone, Director of Communications and Government Relations for Plains All American Pipeline. “We are sorry that this release happened, and we have and will continue to work hard to re-earn the trust of area residents.”

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