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Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Calif. Seeks Records on Santa Barbara Oil Spill

SANTA BARBARA (CN) - The company whose broken pipeline dumped 100,000 gallons of crude oil onto Santa Barbara County beaches is not cooperating with a state investigation, California claims in court.

Santa Barbara County's District Attorney sued Plains All American Pipeline for the state of California in Superior Court, to compel its cooperation and production of documents.

The May 19 oil spill closed beaches up and down the coast, including Refugio and El Capitan state beaches, and spread tar balls as far south as Redondo Beach in Los Angeles.

"The people of this community demand to know what happened with this disastrous marine oil spill, and they want to know it now," prosecutors say in the Oct. 14 complaint.

"They want to know what happened both to see if any laws were broken and to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again. The people do not accept that knowledge of what happened should occur at some time convenient for the respondents. Further, the district attorney cannot investigate what happened without these responses."

Deputy District Attorney Jerry Lulejian claims Plains All American attorneys said they would draft a protective order and submit it to his office to protect sensitive information, but they did not.

The spill dumped an estimated 101,000 to 143,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific. The cleanup, fines and legal settlements will cost Texas-based Plains All American more than $250 million, according to the L.A. Times.

Neither Lulejian nor Plains All American officials responded to requests for comment Thursday.

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