June 25, 2015 — A woman who owns beachfront property in Santa Barbara has filed a proposed class action on behalf of other homeowners whose property values decreased after the oil spill last month.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the woman, Alexandra B. Geremia, filed the lawsuit against Plains All-American Pipeline in federal court in California.
She says the property value of her home is linked to the pristine shoreline location, direct access to the ocean, the waves lapping at the shore, and clean air brought by ocean breezes.
After the pipeline ruptured on May 19 and gushed 101,000 of crude oil into the environment, she says her property values have been devastated and she cannot even rent her house. According to the lawsuit (PDF):
“Her property has been bombarded with a steady stream of oil tarballs and oil sheen from the spill, and she has been unable to even walk on the beach. The clean-up efforts near her home have been unsatisfactory, and long-term contamination of her property is likely.”
She also accuses Plains Pipeline of negligence for failing to install an automatic shut-off valve, which may have delayed the response time. An employee of the company confirmed the spill at 1:30 p.m., but did not notify response teams for another 90 minutes.
The Associated Press reported that Plains Pipeline told the government a break on the line was “extremely unlikely,” and if one occurred it should take no more than 15 minutes to shut off the line.