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$13 billion plea agreement reached in 2021 oil spill case

(CNN) - "I think it's great that they admitted they are at fault because we lost business."

Joe Ali's family owns Zack's Beachfront Concession Stand steps from the Huntington Beach Pier.

The snack bar, bike rental, and surf shop had several days without any customers when the pipeline leaked last October.

"I just want to show everybody what a tar ball looks like," Ali spoke to CNN.

Late Friday, less than a year after the spill, the Texas based oil company Amplify Energy, that owns the pipeline off the Huntington Beach shoreline and two subsidiaries, agreed to pay $13 million in fines.

In addition, the U.S. Attorney says the company will plead guilty for violating the Federal Clean Water Act.

"They're bringing the hammer down. I mean 13 million dollars in fines, requiring a kinds of conditions of the plea agreement that will not just pay money but also fix the system, fix all of the things that we learned about when we were dealing with this almost one year ago today," Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley spoke.

To compensate for the fines, the energy companies will install a new leak detection system to better monitor its 17-mile long pipeline in the San Pedro Bay, notifying regulators of leak detection alarms and agree to semi-annual visual underwater inspections.

Also, there is a settlement, according to Amplify Energy, resolving all civil claims filed against the companies:

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement in principle regarding the civil litigation resulting from the Southern California pipeline incident last October. We will continue to vigorously pursue our substantial claims for damages against the ships that struck our pipeline, and the Marine Exchange of Southern California that failed to notify us of the anchor strikes."

However, all the Alis want is to be repaid for the money lost during the oil spill.

"Tourists couldn't go to the beach, you couldn't even lay on the sand, ocean was damaged, the fish, river jetties were dirty. It was horrible for everyone down here," Ali exclaimed.

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Arlette Yousif

Arlette Yousif joined KYMA in November 2020 as a Multi Media Journalist. She holds a BA in Journalism with a minor in Film.

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