Plains All American Pipeline, the oil company associated with the Refugio Oil Spill near Santa Barbara in 2015, was convicted of a felony, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
A Santa Barbara jury found Plains guilty of “failing to properly maintain its dangerous, highly-pressurized pipeline, which led to the discharge of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean,” a felony.
The jury also returned guilty verdicts on eight other misdemeanor counts: “one count of failing to timely call emergency response agencies following this catastrophic oil spill; six counts of killing marine mammals, protected seabirds, and other marine life; and, one count of violating a county ordinance prohibiting oil spills.”
The trial lasted four months, with the jury returning a verdict after six days.
A crude oil pipeline operated by Plains just off the Santa Barbara coast ruptured in May 2015. Becerra’s office stated the rupture resulted in 140,000 gallons of crude oil being released onto Refugio State Beach, with more than 100,000 gallons of that oil never recovered.
A grand jury indicted Plains on felony and misdemeanor charges in May 2016.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13 at Santa Barbara County Superior Court.