LOS ANGELES – The Latest on criminal charges against an oil pipeline company in a spill on the California coast last year (all times local):
California prosecutors say a Texas company faces four felony counts and dozens of misdemeanors after a pipeline break spilled 140,000 gallons of oil last year on the Santa Barbara coast.
Attorney General Kamala Harris said Tuesday that Plains All American Pipeline faces up to $2.8 million in fines if convicted.
The company says the spill was an accident and the charges are inappropriate.
Prosecutors say the company faces felony counts for spilling oil in state waters and three dozen misdemeanors for harming wildlife. More than 300 dead sea lions and pelicans were found after the May 19, 2015, spill that spread tar balls more than 100 miles.
A Plains employee and the company also face charges of failing to report the spill quickly enough to state emergency officials.
Plains All American Pipeline says a California grand jury has indicted the company and one of its employees in connection with a pipeline break that spilled more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil along the Santa Barbara County coast and into the ocean.
Plains says in a statement Tuesday that the indictment contains 46 charges of state law violations. The company says the spill was an accident and believes no criminal behavior occurred.
The May 19, 2015, rupture fouled Refugio State Beach, and a slick spread across miles of ocean. Tar balls were found more than 100 miles away on Los Angeles County beaches.
The spill closed coastal campgrounds and beaches and has been blamed for the deaths of more than 100 marine mammals, mostly sea lions, and nearly 200 birds