Environmentalists mulling lawsuit against U.S. gov’t for oil spill in Southern California

An Arizona-based environment group filed a notice Tuesday to U.S. Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), showing its intent to sue the federal government for its miscoundct in office causing the oil spill incident in Southern California last month.

In the 11-page notice letter, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) accuses the Secretary of the Interior and BOEM of violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA).

The BOEM illegally allows Platform Elly and other offshore oil production in the Beta oilfield to operate under outdated drilling plans written in the 1970s and ’80s instead of reviewing and requiring revision of the plans as the age of the infrastructure and other changes had been over forty years old, the letter said.

“The oil industry is drilling and spilling off California’s coast under plans written when Carter and Reagan were in the White House and floppy disks were high tech,” said Kristen Monsell, legal director of the center’s oceans program.

“These incredibly outdated documents highlight the federal government’s reckless, contemptible refusal to protect our beaches, wildlife and communities from offshore drilling pollution. Retro is not a good look for those ominous oil platforms, which should be shut down entirely,” she said in a statement.

The group’s notice came a month after the Houston-based Amplify Energy pipeline leaked at least 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the ocean off the coast of Southern California, closing miles of beaches and fisheries, killing and injuring birds and other wildlife.

The notice letter is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit under the 60-day notice requirement of the citizen suit provision of OCSLA, the CBD said, noting that since the BOEM did not take action to remedy the violations detailed in this letter, the center hereby provided notice of its intent to seek a judicial remedy.

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