Company responsible for O.C. oil spill gets permission to repair pipeline
The operator of an oil pipeline that leaked a million gallons of oil into the ocean off Santa Barbara Friday has reached an accord with the state attorney general to repair the damage, after the Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) determined the damage could not have been caused by the leaking pipe itself, and that it was the result of a catastrophic rupture caused by heavy winds.
The agreement with the state of California, which could allow the operator to recoup costs for the spill from the state of California’s taxpayers, was reached Friday morning.
It allows for the repair of the pipeline at a cost of about $800 million, and includes a payment of $200 million to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for an analysis of the cause of the spilled oil.
The agreement with the state also includes a commitment to the U.S. Department of Energy that the State of California will repair the pipeline and protect against an even larger oil leak. It also gives a commitment to the National Science Foundation for money to study the cause of the oil spill.
The agreement also includes a commitment to return the oil to the water that it spilled, and to clean up the ocean and its surrounding marine life as a result of the spill.
“This is unprecedented,” said California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who negotiated the accord with the operator. “This agreement is a good deal that gives our community and our state a chance to start to heal.”
The agreement requires that the operator spend about $200 million and that the state pay about $800 million to repair the pipeline, according to a statement from the company, Trans-California Pipelines.
The pipeline that spilled an estimated one million gallons of crude oil into the Santa Barbara Channel was owned by Trans-Pacific Pipeline. Trans-Pacific was operating under its own pipeline permit when it spilled the oil. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was investigating the accident when it came to light.
DHS took control of the pipeline following the spill, according to DHS documents reviewed by NBC News.
The agreement with the California attorney general requires the company to pay penalties, including $100 million to the state to cover state expenses that could result from the oil spill; $100 million to