Chevron Will Pay Record $13M Fines for Oil Spills in California

"The penalties come after an investigation by The Desert Sun and ProPublica found that companies were profiting from illegal spills and California’s oversight of the industry was lax."

"Chevron has agreed to pay a record-setting $13 million to two California agencies in the wake of investigations by The Desert Sun and ProPublica of dozens of oil spills, and of lax enforcement by the state's oil and gas division. But the announcement late Wednesday masks ongoing issues.

At least one of Chevron's spills is still running 21 years after it began in a Kern County oilfield, although a state spokesman said it has been reduced by 98% "from its peak." The amount spilled from the site, dubbed GS-5, is larger than the Exxon Valdez disaster.

Chevron earned at least $11.6 million off GS-5 in just three years, The Desert Sun and ProPublica found, by trucking out raw, sticky crude from the gushing, burbling site, known as a "surface expression," to be refined and sold. In fact, rather than stopping potentially deadly surface expressions, oil companies have routinely "contained" them with netting or pieces of metal, and used more than 100 of them as unpermitted oil production sites in Kern and Santa Barbara counties."

Janet Wilson reports for the Palm Springs Desert Sun March 22, 2024.

Source: Palm Springs Desert Sun, 03/26/2024