Plains to fight California spill charges

Plains All American Pipeline LP said it will fight criminal charges related to the release of 500 bbl of crude oil from its 24-in. OD Coastal Line 901 near Santa Barbara, Calif., last year (OGJ Online, May 20, 2015).

Oil escaped through a 6-in., longitudinally oriented opening in a section of pipe found to have suffered WT thinning due to corrosion (OGJ Online, June 4, 2015). The oil flowed through a culvert into the Pacific.

A state grand jury indictment names Plains and one of its employees. It includes 46 counts, 10 related to release of the crude or reporting and 36 related to effects on wildlife.

In a statement, Plains expressed disappointment over decisions by the California attorney general and Santa Barbara district attorney to pursue criminal charges.

“Plains believes that neither the company nor any of its employees engaged in any criminal behavior at any time in connection with this accident and that criminal charges are unwarranted,”” the company said in a statement. “We will vigorously defend ourselves against these charges and are confident we will demonstrate that the charges have no merit and represent an inappropriate attempt to criminalize an unfortunate accident.”

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