SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A jury has found an oil pipeline company guilty of a felony and eight misdemeanor charges for its failure to properly maintain its highly pressurized pipeline that caused crude oil to discharge into the Pacific Ocean.
In the case People v. Plains All American Pipeline LP, which took place over four months in the Santa Barbara County Superior Court, Plains was found guilty of neglecting its pipeline and also eight misdemeanor charges, according to the California Attorney General's Office.
The counts include one count of failing to call emergency response agencies following the oil spill and six counts of killing marine mammals, protected sea birds and other marine life. The company was also found guilty on one count of violating a county ordinance which prohibits oil spills, the Attorney General's Office said.
“Engaging in this kind of reckless conduct is not just irresponsible—it’s criminal," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. "[This] verdict should send a message: if you endanger our environment and wildlife, we will hold you accountable."
“This spill killed our marine life, harmed not just our beaches and ocean but also our businesses," added Santa Barbara County district attorney Joyce Dudley. "The Santa Barbara County and California attorney general’s team that prosecuted this case were relentless in seeking justice for our people, our animals and our environment; they deserve our deepest appreciation."
Plains is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 3, according the Attorney General's Office.