California oil spill: Environmentalists want a review of coastal drilling operations

The Center for Biological Diversity states that excavations and equipment in demolition operate under programs that have not been reviewed for forty years.


A major environmental group has filed a federal government notice: Review the mining activities involved in the California oil spill last month, or prepare yourself for a lawsuit.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Home Affairs and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management sent out Tuesday morning, lawyers for the Center for Biological Diversity said excavations and equipment involved in the demolition work under government-approved plans that have not been reviewed for 40 years. . The national nonprofit savings organization suggests that changes in production or output volume need to be reviewed, but nothing has been done.

The oil industry often backs off criticism that its infrastructure is deteriorating, but by the time the underwater pipeline spilled at least 25,000 gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean near Orange County in early October, at least one of the platforms in the complex was over. 10 years ago its expected date of disposal.

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Kristen Monsell, legal director of the marine system at the Center for Biological Diversity, says that advances in science as the platforms were built in the early 1980's should begin to be revised, even without a breakdown.

"Some of these stadiums were built before our most important environmental laws were enacted," he said. "We know more now than we knew at the time about how dangerous it is to dig into our ocean and the weather."

Among the advancing science are not only the effects of oil production, but also the environmental challenges placed on the extraction, processing and removal of pollutants off the coast.

In its letter to the organization's directors, the Center for Biological Diversity refers to two studies examining the effects of aging and corrosion on steel pipes.

The first, from both academic scientists and the US government, suggests that while age naturally increases the chances of line failure, it grows rapidly after 20 years. Also, by Korean and Malaysian researchers, it looks at the impact of expanded metal corrosion reaching or exceeding its expanding limit as it appears to have occurred in a burst pipe. It found that the metal under such stress was rapidly corroding, at least 10 to 15 percent.

The line and related platforms, operated by Amplifaya Energy based in Texas, are located in a crowded shipyard, an area that was not expected to be a problem in 1977 when a coal-led oil company led by Shell applied to build the facility. That year's document only addresses the stadium areas themselves in terms of navigation, not concerns about the underwater pipeline that remains closed as the investigation continues.

Coast guard, who led the investigation, could not confirm Monday night that it had begun processing the pipe for a rust test.

An Amplify Energy spokesman said the company was still committed to clean-up.

"We are still focused on environmental efforts," the company said in a statement on Monday, adding that it was "working with various regulatory agencies to investigate the matter."

The company said it planned to restart oil production at the Beta facility when it received its regulatory approval.