$1-million settlement approved in Huntington Beach oil spill

Workers with Patriot Environmental Services clean up oil that flowed into the Talbert Marsh in Huntington Beach.
(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

The Orange County Board of Supervisors has accepted a nearly $1-million settlement to cover the costs of cleaning up an Oct. 2 oil spill in Huntington Beach.

In a 4-1 vote Wednesday, the supervisors voted to accept a $956,352 payout from Amplify Energy, the company that owned the oil rig that spilled over 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the waters at Huntington Beach last year.

Supervisor Katrina Foley said the settlement was a “win for the taxpayers.”

“We are grateful that we got it resolved in a fairly short order and got the county reimbursed for every dollar expended, including attorney’s fees and costs,” Foley told The Times. “I’m happy with the outcome.”


Foley said the claim, which was filed earlier this year, reached a settlement much sooner than expected. She said the city of Huntington Beach has also filed a separate claim that is still underway.

Andrew Do was the only supervisor to vote against the settlement, saying it could potentially make the county liable for more uncovered expenses in the future.

“Getting $900,000 or even $1 million for potential claims to come down in the future is peanuts,’’ Do told City News Service. “If we have lawsuits in the future and cannot go to Amplify to indemnify us, then $1 million in legal fees will be gone in six months... Until we see with more clarity the number of claims, but also the type of claims, we also have to keep in mind we might have claims that might not materialize for years to come.”

Federal investigators and the U.S. Coast Guard estimated that the October oil spill reached over 8,300 acres of the ocean’s surface, caused by a pipeline that was damaged by a ship’s anchor most likely belonging to the caravan of cargo ships that were backed up for several months outside the Los Angeles-Long Beach port.