Trucking Company, County Attorney’s Office, and State Settle Cuyama River Oil Spill Civil Case | Local News

A trucking company has agreed to pay $200,000 as part of the settlement of a civil case stemming from an overturned tanker that spilled oil into the Cuyama River along Highway 166 in 2020.

the Santa Barbara County Attorney’s Office Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently settled the Santa Barbara County Superior Court case against Golden Valley Transfer Inc. of Bakersfield.

The company will have paid over $500,000 for the incident, including cleanup costs, corrective action and civil penalties.

The civil case and the criminal case against a driver arose from the March 21, 2020, spill which spilled 4,533 gallons of oil into the Cuyama River, prompting a strong response from the Santa Barbara County Fire Department, the state Office of Spill Prevention and Response and others.

The spill happened when the driver, traveling from Bakersfield to Santa Maria, drove dangerously fast on Route 166, causing the tanker to break away from the truck and roll down an embankment into the river.

Crews sent to clean up the spill and rescue the oiled animals found a number of birds, frogs and turtles in need of care. Some fish and ducks found in the area did not survive.

Last fall, truck driver Jesse Villasana of Wasco did not contest a Fish and Game Code violation for illegally dumping oil in a waterway and driving at an unsafe speed.

As a result of these charges, Villasana was sentenced to one year of probation, ordered to perform 20 hours of community service at an environmental non-profit organization and to pay a $515 fine to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The crash happened around 4:30 a.m., but authorities weren’t notified until around 6 a.m. Highway 166 has pockets without reliable cell phone service.

Due to the delay in reporting the incident, the stipulated regulations included a requirement that the trucking company must carry a device equipped with the technological means to immediately report releases of crude oil or hazardous materials in locations without service. reliable cell.

The agreement also called for the trucking company to pay more than $314,320 to the state for costs associated with cleaning up the spill.

As part of the judgment, GVT agreed to pay $111,326 to the State Fish and Wildlife to repair damage to natural resources.

Additionally, the company will pay $88,674 in civil penalties, including $47,755 to Fish and Wildlife’s Environmental Enhancement Fund and $40,919 to Santa Barbara County.

GVT has been cooperating with CDFW and the district attorney’s office throughout the investigation, District Attorney Joyce Dudley said.

“My office is committed to protecting Santa Barbara County’s abundant natural resources,” Dudley said. “I appreciate Golden Valley Transfer’s cooperation in repairing the damage caused by this oil spill, and hope this case serves as a reminder that all companies handling hazardous materials must act with caution to protect the public and the environment. environment.”

– Noozhawk North County Editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Login with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Comments are closed.