Millions More Demanded for SoCal Oil Spill

SANTA BARBARA (CN) – Venoco sued Plains Pipeline for $12 million in lost profits from the Mayo 2015 pipeline rupture that spilled 140,000 gallons of crude oil north of Refugio State Beach.
     “Since the pipeline’s rupture on May 19, 2015, Venoco has not produced crude oil, natural gas liquids from its Holly platform,” Venoco says in its April 1 complaint in Superior Court.
     The oil spill closed Refugio and El Capitan state beaches and spread tar balls as far south as Redondo Beach in Los Angeles. Cleanup, fines and legal settlements were expected to cause Plains All American Pipeline more than $250 million, the Los Angeles Times estimated in October last year.
     Venoco’s Holly offshore platform is in the South Ellwood Offshore Oil Field, about 2 miles offshore. The Plains Pipeline rupture “shut in” the offshore well, costing Venoco $12.4 million in lost profits, the company says in the complaint.
     Economic damage spread far and wide. Ventura County will lose about $74 million in taxes, royalties and employment taxes, California Economic Forecast Director Mark Schniepp said.
     He estimated it could take as long as five years to repair the pipeline and resume production.
     The spill cost fishermen and crabbers nearly $11 million in the near term, according to some estimates.
     Federal regulators blamed the rupture on corrosion.
     The spill affected at least 7 miles of the biologically diverse coast. The Naples, Kashtayit, Campus Point and Goleta Slough State Marine Conservation Areas all were affected, as were the waters offshore Santa Barbara.
     Venoco seeks damages under the Federal Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and California’s Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act, including continuing damages, and cost of suit.
     It is represented by Steven Tekosky with Tatro Tekosky & Sadwick.
     Texas-based Pipeline Plains LP did not reply to a request for comment.

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