The companies responsible for a 2016 oil spill in the Ventura foothills will pay the state and county $1.6 million in a legal settlement announced July 21.
Crimson Pipeline agreed to pay $1.3 million in civil penalties and costs, according to a news release from Ventura County District Attorney Greg Totten’s office. Crimson’s contractor, CD Lyon, agreed to pay $300,000 in civil penalties and costs.
On June 22, 2016, Crimson and CD Lyon shut off a Crimson pipeline so that CD Lyon could replace a valve. CD Lyon did not properly tighten the new valve, according to Totten’s office, and when the pipeline turned back on early the next morning, 44,000 gallons of crude oil flowed out of the pipe and down Hall Canyon.
The canyon runs out of the foothills above midtown Ventura, west of the city’s landmark Two Trees, and ends in a residential neighborhood near Ventura High School. Oil flowed through the canyon and into that neighborhood, and some residents had to leave their homes due to the strong odor of petroleum. The spill required months of cleanup.
The settlement calls for Crimson to pay $900,000 in civil penalties to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office; $387,700 in reimbursements to the state and county for investigative and attorneys’ costs; and $20,000 to compensate for injuries to natural resources. The company also agreed to comply in the future with all state laws and regulations regarding oil spill prevention and response, and improve its prevention and response measures.
CD Lyon will pay $185,000 to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, including penalties based on its negligent conduct, and $115,000 to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office for investigative and attorney’s costs.
“With this settlement, Crimson and their contractor will pay a significant penalty, improve its oil spill preparedness and response operations, and compensate the public for natural resource damages,” Thomas Cullen, administrator of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response, said in the news release. “The public should know that when an oil spill happens in California, we will hold those responsible accountable and require a thorough and rapid cleanup and restoration.”