California Residents Sue Oil Company Responsible For Major Beach Spill

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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A law firm filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of California residents and businesses affected by the oil spill that could significantly harm the local economy.

The New York City-based firm, Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, filed a complaint Monday against Amplify Energy Corporation, the company operating the oil rig responsible for the spill off the shore of Huntington Beach, California. The lead plaintiff, Peter Moses Gutierrez Jr., argues that the spill will lead to significant monetary damages to his disc jockey company, which regularly performed in the area that has been shut down indefinitely due to the spill.

The complaint also demands medical monitoring for class members who may be exposed to harmful toxins. The damage to the environment and residents near the spill is “tremendous,” the complaint stated. (RELATED: Oil Spill Devastates Wildlife Off Coast Of California)

“Today it is reported that 120,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from an offshore rig,” Milberg Attorney Alex Straus said in a statement. “But those numbers may increase as the investigation and clean-up efforts continue. The impacts on businesses, homeowners, and their families are likely to be felt for years.”

Straus noted that the firm previously sued BP over its massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The firm, therefore, understands the “terrible impact these events have on the environment, wildlife, and people,” he added.

An aerial picture taken on Monday shows a sheen of oil in the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach, California. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

An aerial picture taken on Monday shows a sheen of oil in the Pacific Ocean in Huntington Beach, California. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

At least 126,000 gallons of oil leaked into the Pacific Ocean on Saturday, producing a 13 square-mile slick off the coast of Orange County, California, The New York Times reported. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California declared a state of emergency Monday, mobilizing “all available resources” for the clean-up effort.

The Coast Guard, aided by environmental groups and local agencies, recovered 4,158 gallons as of oil by early Monday afternoon. Officials said they were investigating whether a ship anchor accidentally struck a pipeline traveling from Amplify’s off-shore rig along the ocean floor, according to NBC News.

Amplify said it engaged “cooperatively” with the Coast Guard and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of Spill Protection and Response.

California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla and environmental groups argued that the spill is proof that the U.S. must be less reliant on oil and off-shore drilling for energy.

“Every spill begins with a lease sale,” Damon Nagami, a senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Monday. “And this kind of devastation—not to mention the climate crisis—should guide the Biden administration’s thinking as it makes decisions on leasing our federal waters.”

“This disaster proves that the risks are real. And the costs are simply unacceptable,” he continued. “It’s infuriating to see my childhood beach devastated this way. This is a magical area—one of the country’s most diverse coastal ecosystems—and it angers me to think of whales, dolphins, sea lions and seals trying to swim through crude oil.”

Amplify Energy didn’t immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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