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Company paying $1.3 M for SoCal oil spill

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

January 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Pacific Pipeline Systems LLP, Long Beach has agreed to pay $1.3 million in civil penalties and to stop using an oil pipeline through an unstable section of the Tehachapi Mountains.The U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said the agreement was to resolve a violation of the Clean Water Act.

The EPA says it filed the federal lawsuit against the oil transport company to protect Pyramid Lake, an important body of water.

Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division says the settlement protects Pyramid Lake from future oil spills.

The federal court case filed in Los Angeles alleged Pacific discharged crude oil into Pyramid Lake, located about 60 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

In March 2005, a landslide caused a portion of Pacific's Line 63, an underground pipeline that runs from Bakersfield, California to Los Angeles, to fail. The break discharged 3,393 barrels of oil. Most of it flowed into Pyramid Lake, which is part of the California Aqueduct and is a potential drinking water supply.

As part of the agreement, Pacific will discontinue use of about 70 miles of Line 63 that travels through the Tehachapi Mountains. Pacific could re-use the pipeline, but only after relocating it into a more stable area. The consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment and approval by the federal court.

A copy of the decree is available on the Justice Department Web site.