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Store Owner Files Santa Barbara Oil Spill Class Action


June 15, 2015 — Another class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of business owners who are seeking compensation for economic losses after last month’s oil spill in Santa Barbara, California.

Law360 reports that the lawsuit was filed against Plains All-American Pipeline, operator of an oil pipeline that ruptured on May 19, just days before Memorial Day Weekend.

The plaintiff in the class action (PDF), Erica Dahl, owns a store in Santa Barbara’s historical district and says “there was a noticeable decline in business at local retailers and establishments” after the spill. According to the complaint:

“In fact, news channel CNN arrived soon thereafter to document Memorial Day Weekend on the all but empty Santa Barbara harbor during a holiday in which the local economy would otherwise thrive.”

The broken pipe was badly corroded, according to investigators, and spilled about 101,000 gallons of crude oil before it was shut off three hours later. Over 20,000 gallons spilled down a culvert into the ocean. The slick stretched for miles and fouled nearly 100 miles of beaches.

Meanwhile, the Orange County Register reports that cleanup costs have increased to $62 million, or about $3 million per day. About 75% of the beaches are now clean, but some rocky sections will have to be manually scrubbed. Hundreds of animals, including dozens of seals and dolphins, have been found dead in the last few weeks.

Fishing and shellfish harvesting remain off-limits while the cleanup process continues. Earlier this month, a class action lawsuit was filed by a commercial fisherman who says his livelihood has been jeopardized by the environmental devastation.


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