Thursday, May 24, 2012

Oil Pipeline Company Settles LA Spill Case

A Long Beach-based company has agreed to pay $1.75 million to settle a criminal case involving a 2010 oil spill at the Port of Los Angeles, the largest such monetary settlement ever obtained by the city of Los Angeles for an oil spill violation.

Under the agreement, Crimson Pipeline Management must not only pay the restitution, which will be split between Los Angeles and state agencies, but also set up an environmental compliance program; allow for federal, state, and city regulatory agencies to conduct yearly inspections and oversee any significant repair or construction on all Crimson pipelines in Los Angeles County; and establish procedures for immediate reporting of any spill, of any quantity, whether inland or into California waters.

Law enforcement first became aware of the pipeline breach on Dec. 21, 2010, when significant amounts of oil seeped into the Dominguez Channel during a large storm event. Investigators eventually found that the oil that entered the channel came from Crimson Pipeline.

The California Department of Fish and Game and Los Angeles Watershed Protection Division also discovered the cause of the spill was a gash in the protective casing surrounding the pipeline.
The gash was wrapped, and the carrier pipe inside the casing was pulled from the ground in October 2011.

Two months later, the LA City Attorney’s Office filed a 61-count complaint against Crimson alleging that the company and its operators unlawfully caused, allowed, permitted, and contributed to the discharge of large quantities of oil into the storm drain system, which led into Dominguez Channel and Port of LA waters.