Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fines Levied For Oil Spills

Three of 16 spills, resulting in $350,000 penalty, occurred in Ojai’s backcountry

By Nao Braverman
After causing three oil spills in the Los Padres National Forest, and 13 other spills countywide, Vintage Production California, LLC and its parent company Occidental Petroleum Corporation are finally beginning to pay their dues.
The companies were fined $350,000 by the state last week for the 16 oil spills which occurred in a span of three years.
“In addition to paying the fine, the oil industry must take additional steps to ensure that our creeks and wildlife do not have to suffer one more spill,” said Jeff Kuyper, executive director of Los Padres Forest Watch, a nonprofit watchdog organization for the Los Padres National Forest.
Nearly a year ago, on Jan. 30, a broken Vintage Production oil line in the Sespe oil fields let five 42-gallon barrels of oil and 50 gallons of groundwater spill onto the forest floors. Just one week later on Feb. 6, a second leak in the same pipe had been discovered to spill 20 gallons of medium weight oil mixed with 80 gallons of groundwater. Spilled oil was estimated to have traveled three miles down Tar Creek in the northwest Hopper Mountain area, 20 miles east of Ojai, near the Sespe Condor Sanctuary. The first spill in Los Padres National Forest occurred on April 1, 2006 spilling an unknown amount of oil into Four Forks Creek.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office announced the settlement last week. The amount includes civil penalties, reimbursement for damage to natural resources and costs to government agencies in responding to the 16 Ventura County oil spills.



Anonymous said...

Why are they allowed to drill
in this area, and by who's
jurisdiction? The federal forest
ara belongs to the people of
California, not companies like
these who won't even cop to their
contamination incidents.

bbeckett said...

The National Forests belong to the people of the United States, not the people of California. Unlike Ntional Parks, National Forests are supposed to be managed for mulitple uses (including logging, mining, recreation, and livestock grazing). Presumably these companies obtained a lease for drilling at these sites. It is the resonsibility of the federal government to ensure that the terms of the lease are upheld, and that appropriate measures are taken to avoid environmental damage. If not, the companies should be held liable for the damage (and proabably should lose their lease, if the problems are recurring).

Becky Beckett

Anonymous said...

Problem is that we're not drilling ENOUGH!!! Energy independence and a curse on Hugo Chavez!

Anonymous said...

Check out 2/1/07 OVNEWS blog entitled "Oil Spill in Los Padres Reported" for this reccuring
problem of contamination. What
may not be realized is that the forest and wilderness serve as a natural filter which is why so many of us are drawn to live near and assimulate into it's pure pristine beauty. When the process of industrialization begins to erode it,that doesn't get reversed.
Please vocalize your support for Ojai's backyard mountain majesty, and end more drilling.PL