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Company responsible for O.C. oil spill gets permission to repair pipeline

A major oil spill off Orange County  in October 2021.
A major oil spill off Orange County in 2021 spoiled beaches, killed fish and birds, and threatened wetlands.
(Allen Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

The Houston-based company operating the oil pipeline that ruptured off Huntington Beach last fall announced Saturday that the government has green-lighted its plans to repair the pipeline, raising the possibility it will be operational again early next year.

In a press release, Amplify Energy Corp. said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has granted it a permit to remove and replace damaged segments of the pipeline, a job that is estimated to take about a month.

The pipeline runs from a plant in Long Beach to the Elly platform in federal waters off Huntington Beach. At least 25,000 gallons of crude oil gushed from the broken pipe last October, forcing a weeklong closure of beaches along the Orange County coast in October and a months-long shutdown of fisheries.

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In August, Amplify Energy and two of its subsidiaries pleaded guilty to negligently discharging oil and agreed to pay nearly $13 million in criminal fines and cleanup fees.

Amplify also said it had reached a settlement with businesses and property owners claiming spill-related losses.

A major oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach, Calif., washed up on nearby Orange County beaches, killing fish and birds and threatening local wetlands.

Amplify contends that the pipeline had been damaged by the anchors of container ships nine months before the spill, and that it had not been properly notified.

Last week, the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in federal court, claiming the Biden administration was improperly allowing rigs in the oilfield off Huntington Beach to continue operating under outdated safety plans devised in the 1970s and 1980s.

“It’s time to get these rusty relics out of our ocean,” Kristen Monsell, legal director of the Center’s Oceans program, said in a press release, comparing the aging oil platforms to “ticking time bombs.”


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