The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Coast Guard issued a joint order under the Clean Water Act to ensure that Plains All American Pipeline LP (Plains) continued its cleanup efforts of an oil spill that occurred west of Santa Barbara, Calif., on May 19, 2015. The spill leaked an estimated 105,000 gallons of heavy crude, which is the largest coastal spill in California in the past 25 years. About one-fifth of the amount spilled seeped into the Pacific Ocean from the pipeline transporting oil to refineries in Southern California.
The Clean Water Act order requires the company, as pipeline owner and operator, to continue its cleanup work inland, beachside, and in the ocean and also sets cleanup timelines. Plains was to have submitted a written plan for its cleanup activities by June 6.
The EPA and US Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) are investigating the cause of the spill. Patrick Hodgins, Plain’s Senior Direct of Safety and Security, says that the disrupted section of pipe was removed to assist in the investigation. PHMSA ordered Plains to suspend operations and make safety improvements before reopening the pipeline.
Sources: Law360.com and EPA.gov
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