Ventura oil spills
- Impacts from local oil production:
Company to pay $98,000 in oil-spill settlement
Aera will also have to boost leak prevention
By Raul Hernandez
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
An oil- and natural gas-producing company in Ventura County, without
admitting any wrongdoing, will pay more than $98,000 in penalties,
fees and other costs as a result of six oil spills, officials
The spills occurred between March 26, 2006, and Jan. 5, 2008, District
Attorney Greg Totten said in a prepared statement. Petroleum or
residuals of petroleum reached creeks or waterways in six incidents in
violation of state law, prosecutors alleged.
Aera Energy LLC, a California company that owns and operates about
4,300 acres of crude oil- and natural gas-producing property in the
county, also will be required to take other actions under the
permanent injunction obtained Friday by the district attorney in the
environmental protection civil case, which was filed against Aera on
The injunction requires the company to install a supplemental oil
spill containment basin in Canada De Las Encinas, a tributary to the
Ventura River, by the end of this year, according to Laurel McWaters,
deputy district attorney.
The judgment requires the company to pay $80,000 in civil penalties,
with half of that going to the Ventura County Fish and Wildlife
Propagation Fund and the other half to the California Fish and Game
Preservation Fund, McWaters said.
Aera will also be required to pay $4,415 for investigative costs
incurred by the Department of Fish and Game, $4,244 as restitution for
natural resource damages and $10,000 to the Environmental Project of
the California District Attorneys Association.
Aera Energy agreed to settle to “avoid costly and uncertain
litigation,” according to a statement issued by Susan C. Hersberger, a
company spokeswoman. She said the company cooperated with the district
attorney and takes these matters “very seriously.”
“The spills covered by the settlement were reported immediately to the
appropriate agencies and thoroughly cleaned up with no lasting impact
to the environment,” Hersberger said, adding that the company
continues to make progress in addressing leaks and spills through
pipeline testing, inspection and replacement and other steps.
Prosecutors allege that the incidents involved East Hall Canyon Creek,
Canyon Creek, Cable Canyon Creek and Hall Canyon Creek.
McWaters said the Department of Fish and Game will continue to monitor
the company and make sure it complies with the injunction.
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