$50 Million Settlement: Final Approval Granted Huntington Beach Oil Spill

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Credit: Erik Mclean/Pexels

A $50 million settlement of a class action lawsuit involving a pipeline oil leak that spilt thousands of gallons of crude into the ocean off Huntington Beach in 2021 received final clearance from a federal judge in Santa Ana on Monday, as reported by LA Times.

Final approval of lawsuit

A US district judge has granted final approval to a lawsuit against Amplify Energy without any objections. The lawsuit was filed after the rupture of the oil pipeline off the coast of California. The plaintiffs’ lead counsel said that the issue of allowing cargo ships to park off the coast could not be fully addressed, but awareness can be heightened. Amplify’s attorney praised the court’s good pressure for resolving the case quickly. The judge complimented the attorneys and special masters for their work and commended the quick resolution of the case.

Oil pipeline rupture 

In the lawsuit against Amplify Energy after an oil pipeline rupture off the coast of California, injunctive relief was granted leading to heightened worker training and more frequent inspections. A notice system will alert everyone involved when a leak is observed, and a payment system was created to directly compensate fishers and merchants affected by the oil spill without filling out a claim form. The tourism industry will have to fill out a claim form, with a deadline of June 9, to receive compensation. Notices will be sent out soon to ensure no one is missed.

$50 Million settlement

Amplify Energy will pay $50 million to settle the lawsuit, with $34 million going to fishers, $9 million to property owners, and about $7 million to the tourism industry. Staffing on the Elly platform will be increased to provide for additional operators. A $45 million settlement with the two shipping companies that damaged the pipeline is awaiting preliminary approval. Amplify Energy settled criminal cases in state and federal court last year and agreed to pay fines, including a $7.1 million fine in federal court and $4.9 million in fines to resolve a misdemeanour complaint in state court.

The incident

The pipeline started leaking in the late afternoon of October 1, 2021, but oil continued to flow through the line until the next morning, according to authorities last year. The pipeline transports crude oil from numerous offshore drilling sites to a processing plant in Long Beach.

In total, from the damaged 16-inch pipeline, which is underwater approximately 4.7 miles west of Huntington Beach, about 25,000 gallons of oil leaked into the ocean. Popular Huntington Beach Airshow, which was in progress when the spill was discovered, had to be cancelled as a result of the leak. As crews sought to contain the crude oil, beaches were blocked all along the Orange County coast.

After Effects

Federal investigators found that a ship’s anchor likely damaged the pipeline that caused the oil spill off the coast of Southern California. Amplify Energy Corp. settled a lawsuit with more than a dozen companies for $50 million, with a majority of the money going to fishers. The spill led to a two-month shutdown of fisheries, with fishing resuming in late November 2021.

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Source: LA Times