Pipeline company found guilty in 2015 California oil spill

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A California jury has found a pipeline company guilty of nine criminal charges for causing a 2015 oil spill that was the state’s worst coastal spill in 25 years.

The jury in Santa Barbara County reached its verdict against Plains All American Pipeline of Houston on Friday following a four-month trial.

The jury found Plains guilty of a felony count of failing to properly maintain its pipeline and eight misdemeanor charges, including killing marine mammals and protected sea birds.

The company had faced a total of 15 charges for the rupture of a corroded pipeline that sent at least 123,000 gallons (465,000 liters) of crude oil gushing over Refugio State Beach and out to sea.

The spill closed beaches, hurt tourism and fishing, and crippled the local oil business.

Plains apologized and paid for cleanup but denied criminal wrongdoing, saying the spill was an unfortunate accident.

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