Criminal charges were brought against three companies allegedly responsible for a Southern California oil leak that spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean in the fall.
A federal grand jury accused the companies of negligence in connection with the disaster, alleging they failed to respond to eight alarms over more than half a day and made the problem worse by continuing to pump oil, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Amplify Energy Corp and subsidiaries Beta Operating Co LLC and San Pedro Bay Pipeline Co face millions of dollars of fines and a five year probation if found guilty of negligently discharging oil, according to the Department of Justice.
The Oct. 1 spill decimated aquatic life along the shores of Huntington Beach down to Laguna Beach after a pipeline was cracked, possibly by the anchor of a cargo ship.
About 25,000 gallons of oil were discharged as undertrained and fatigue officials continued to restart and operate the pipeline for 13 hours despite being repeatedly alerted to its 16-inch crack, officials said.
Amplify, based in Houston, has been cited 72 times in the past for environmental and safety violations before the disaster.