Plains All-American Pipeline attorneys will appear for a restitution hearing next year in the 2015 Refugio Oil Spill case.
In September 2018, a Santa Barbara jury found the oil company guilty of causing the oil spill and polluting ocean waters in May 2015, when the 24-inch oil Line 901 ruptured, spilling crude oil to be spilled into the Pacific Ocean near Refugio State Beach and killing hundreds of animals.
The criminal case led by Brett Morris of the State Attorney General’s Office. Deputy District Attorney Kevin Weichbrod assisted in prosecution for the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors say the company had a history of safety violations and knew Line 901 was at risk of rupture, but failed to conduct the necessary repairs.
Evidence presented during the trial revealed more than 140,000 gallons of crude oil was released from the pipeline spreading across local beaches. Tar balls caused by the spill were found on beaches throughout Southern California. More than 100,000 gallons of crude oil was never recovered.
In April, Judge James Herman ordered the oil company to pay the maximum $3.3 million penalty. A restitution hearing is set for Feb. 22.
The spill caused ExxonMobil to shut down its offshore platforms and onshore Las Flores Canyon facilities. The closure of Line 901 also drove private American oil and gas exploration and production corporation Venoco, based in Carpinteria, into bankruptcy.
In 2017, Plains applied to rebuild two oil lines, including Line 901. The $300 million project would restore crude oil pipeline transportation services in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Kern Counties for offshore production platforms.
The replacement pipelines will follow the approximately 130-mile of the existing pipeline system, and will include safety features that meet or exceed local, state and federal requirements, according to PLains.
According to the project’s webpage, the project has been paused due to right of way authorization and environmental review delays.