Pipeline Company May File Bankruptcy After Orange County, Calif., Spill
MediaNews Group / Orange County Register via Getty ImagesGetty Images
One thing I will never understand is why lobbyists and donors are so successful in deactivating polluter pays laws at the state level. Why are those affected not so outraged that they vote against politicians who stand up for people who poison their land and water? Big civilian verdicts are good, and they make great movies, but why aren’t big polluters so… ah…toxic that their money and support is an impossible electoral burden to bear? I don’t understand my fellow citizens sometimes.
Case in point: Earlier this month, a ship’s anchor ruptured a dilapidated oil pipeline off Orange County, Calif., Dumping 25,000 gallons into the sea. They haven’t even identified which company. owned the ship that broke the pipeline, but the pipeline itself is owned by Amplify Energy. Of Los Angeles Times:
The company that operates the San Pedro Bay pipeline faces intense pressure from federal regulators as well as businesses and residents suing the effects of the spill… Filing for bankruptcy… could become an attractive option for the parent company of the pipeline, granting it temporary relief from financial and legal restraint. But it is too early to tell if Amplify Energy Corp. will take this step. Its oil production is less dependent on California than Venoco, but it is also a relatively small player in an industry in which the financial blow of an environmental disaster can be devastating.
“They can easily put up their hand and file for bankruptcy,” said Stephen Schork, a longtime analyst and adviser on energy markets.
For comparison, the Times refers to a spill in Santa Barbara County six years ago that dumped 140,000 gallons on the beaches of a state park.
The company that owns the pipeline survived the onslaught of lost revenue and subsequent lawsuits, but not the offshore producer who used the line to transport its oil. After twice filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Venoco Inc. eventually abandoned drilling operations in Southern California, leaving the state to shoulder millions of dollars in costs to shut down idle wells.
It shouldn’t be that easy to walk away from the damage you’re causing. Bankruptcy law should not be as well distributed a fallout shelter as it is for dishonest corporations. (Individual bankruptcy, of course, is a whole different bowl of stone soup, especially for ordinary citizens.) * Take place.
It’s unclear how much insurance Amplify Energy was carrying at the time of the spill, but experts say it’s unlikely that policies will be able to pay for every claim. The number of lawsuits that pile up “may be a significant factor” in a potential bankruptcy, said Lexi Hazam, a San Francisco lawyer representing a group of plaintiffs including commercial fishermen and a whale-watching company. The number of legal complaints has already reached double digits, including those filed by owners of coastal properties in Laguna Beach, a surf school in Huntington Beach, a bait and tackle shop in Seal Beach and several corporate groups. fishing and seafood sales.
If Amplify Energy were to file for bankruptcy, there’s a good chance the plaintiffs won’t receive as much compensation as they hoped, experts say. Bankruptcy judges set the amount of potential damages that can be paid by businesses in Chapter 11, and even the federal government cannot force a business to pay more than that amount, said Eric Smith, business professor at the ‘Tulane University and Associate. director of the Tulane Energy Institute.
Don’t run a gas station, however. You can be in real trouble.
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