ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — Today, Orange County Supervisor Foley joined California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, State Senator Dave Min, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife for a press conference announcing the filing of charges against Amplify Energy, Beta Operating Company, and San Pedro Bay Pipeline for their role in the Huntington Beach Oil Spill in 2021. Amplify will plead no contest to six misdemeanor charges, resulting in $4.9 million in fines and penalties to the state and Orange County.
In the following statement, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said, “Today's plea agreement and historic penalties against oil polluters is great news to Orange County and California. The consequences of allowing oil companies to mismanage their pipelines and employees is dire to our wildlife, environment, and our coastal economy. The fines announced today coupled with the Federal Clean Water Act violation fines sends a strong message to polluters that here in Orange County we will work together at all levels of government to protect our coast and ensure accountability. Whether you’re concerned about the economic or natural benefits of protecting the environment, this is a win for all of us.”
California Attorney General Rob Bonta said, “The oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach polluted state waterways, shut down local beaches, and wreaked havoc on our fish and wildlife. While the exact cost of the spill is still unknown, today's announcement marks an important step toward accountability. Amplify will face six criminal charges and pay the state and county nearly $5 million in penalties and fines for their misconduct. Most importantly, Amplify will be required to implement new employee training and technology to prevent future spills. I want to thank all our local, state, and federal partners for their assistance in this investigation and for their ongoing efforts to clean up this environmental disaster. In times of crisis, it takes all of us – working together – to get the job done.”
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said, “This plea and its probationary terms will enable us to best protect the health and safety of the people of Orange County and our environment by changing the way Amplify conducts its business practices so it will be safer and a more conscientious steward of our precious natural resources. The $4.9 million in criminal fines represents one of the largest criminal fines in Orange County’s history and serves to bring Amplify to justice for its actions that had such a devastating impact to our beautiful coastline and business activities. My prosecutors are not going to stand idly by when companies fail to take the necessary steps to protect our environment while trying to make a profit.”
State Senator Dave Min said, “I’d like to thank Attorney General Bonta and District Attorney Spitzer for their leadership. Today’s announcement gets us closer to justice and accountability for all those impacted by last year’s devastating oil spill which shutdown beaches and businesses for millions of Californians. As we just learned, this is a history making misdemeanor charge and the largest of its kind in Orange County. We cannot and will not rest until offshoring drilling, and the criminal conduct that led to last year’s spill, no longer threaten our way of life.”
Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Irvine), Chair of the California State Assembly’s Select Committee on the Orange County Oil Spill said, “When our coastline was devastated by the OC oil spill last year, I promised residents that we would hold responsible parties accountable. I commend the hard work of our local, state and federal investigators and prosecutors for ensuring we made good on that promise. Amplify Energy has agreed to pay millions of dollars in damages and fines. This is a win for OC residents, a win for California’s Natural Resources and a clear message to polluters that they will not get away with negligent and criminal misconduct in our community.”
To learn more about the plea agreement, please see the California Attorney General’s announcement.
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2021 to represent Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, the unincorporated area of Rossmoor, and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley. Following redistricting, the Board appointed her to additionally serve as caretaker for the future District 2, which includes the communities of Santa Ana and portions of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Tustin, and unincorporated North Tustin.
Supervisor Foley serves on the Airport Ad Hoc Committee & Fly Friendly working group, the Sober Living Home Ad Hoc Committee, and boards of the Orange County Transportation Authority, CalOptima, Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, Law Library, Newport Bay & South Orange County Watershed Management Area Executive Committees & the Santa Ana River Flood Control Protection.