The Center for Biological Diversity Tuesday filed a notice of intent to file a federal lawsuit regarding last month’s oil spill in Huntington Beach.
The agency intends to sue Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for alleged violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
The claim alleges that the government has failed to update oil drilling plans for decades.
In a letter to the government outlining the claim, the agency’s attorneys said, “Offshore oil and gas drilling is inherently dirty and dangerous, as the recent spill from a pipeline connected to Platform Elly highlights all too well. It causes oil spills that kill a wide variety of wildlife, toxic air pollution that harms frontline communities, habitat destruction, and greenhouse gas pollution that exacerbates the climate crisis, among many other problems.”
And yet, “the age of the infrastructure off California — some of which has been littering the Pacific Ocean for over half-a-century — heightens the numerous inherent risks,” the letter continued. The center called on the government to phase out offshore oil drilling.
The government “is allowing companies to operate under plans approved four decades ago despite a host of information demonstrating that those plans are woefully outdated and do not reflect current science, environmental and safety standards, or urgent need to transition off fossil fuel development,” the center said.
The intent to sue is a necessary requirement before filing such a lawsuit.
The center also argued that plans must be updated to reflect the changing economy with so many more ships traversing the waters around offshore oil rigs. One theory of the pipeline spill was a ship’s anchor struck it or dragged it out of shape and it eventually popped open. Cargo ship traffic has exponentially increased as more shoppers order goods online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created traffic jams that leave ships parked offshore until they are ready to unload.