Pipeline operator agrees to guilty plea in California spill


SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A pipeline operator and two subsidiaries have agreed to plead guilty to negligently discharging oil…

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A pipeline operator and two subsidiaries have agreed to plead guilty to negligently discharging oil off the Southern California coast in connection with a pipeline break that covered beaches with blobs of crude, authorities said Friday.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles said that Houston-based Amplify Energy and two subsidiaries agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and pay a $7 million fine and nearly $6 million in costs.

The plea agreements still need to be approved by U.S. District Judge David Carter.

The October 2021 leak in a pipeline that ferried crude oil from offshore platforms to the Southern California coast spilled about 25,000 gallons (94,600 liters) of crude into the Pacific Ocean.

While less severe than initially feared, the spill about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) offshore shuttered beaches in surf-friendly Huntington Beach and nearby communities for a week and fisheries for more than a month, oiled birds and threatened wetlands the region has been striving to restore.

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