A class action lawsuit has been filed against Houston, TX-based Plains All American Pipeline over last month’s pipeline rupture that spilled more than 100,000 gallons of toxic crude into the Pacific Ocean off the Santa Barbara coast.
What’s the Problem?
June 29, 2015 – The class action, which was filed last week by Santa Barbara County homeowner Alexandra Geremia, alleges that Plains’ broken pipeline was not equipped with an automatic shut-off system that could have prevented such a large spill from occurring.
Geremia claims that her home, which is just north of Refugio State Beach, has been ‘bombarded’ with an oil sheen and tarballs that prevent her from walking on the beach. Calling Plains’ oil spill cleanup efforts “unsatisfactory,” the class action alleges the spill will affect Geremia’s property value for years to come.
When Line 901 was built in 1987, Santa Barbara County demanded that a shut-off system be installed and that the county inspect the welds on the pipeline, according to the complaint. Plains countered by filing a lawsuit against the county, arguing that it had no right to force the install or inspect the pipeline.
Line 901 ruptured May 19, spilling roughly 101,000 gallons of crude oil, 21,000 gallons of which flowed into a storm culvert and washed into the Pacific Ocean.
Geremia is seeking class action status, and could potentially include between 3,000 and 25,000 property owners from Point Conception to the Mexico border. The lawsuit is: United States District Court, Central District of Calif., Case No. 2:15-cv-04759-DMG-AS.