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Local fisherman files lawsuit against pipeline company - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Local fisherman files lawsuit against pipeline company

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Santa Barbara -

A local sea urchin diver and near-shore fisherman has filed a lawsuit against Plains All American Pipeline, the company responsible for releasing as much as 101,000 gallons of crude oil two weeks ago.

In the suit, Stace Cheverez alleges the company was negligent and exposed fish to toxic chemicals which can cause health problems if ingested. In turn, the environmental impacts have cost the fisherman his livelihood.

“Stace, like a lot of fisherman, is concerned both with the short term impacts on his business, which is in his case not being able to fish in the near shore areas for fish like grass rockfish,” his attorney Matthew Preusch said. “He's also concerned with the long term impact of the fisheries from the oil that's sinking beneath the surface and settling into the kelp beds and eel grass there.”

Preusch is with Keller Rohrback, a firm that won $5 billion for fisherman and businesses in a class action suit after Exxon Valdez.

“People have to be concerned that restaurants, seafood processing plants are going to be wary about purchasing Santa Barbara seafood even though it may be perfectly safe. Oil in the water can have the effect of depressing fish populations and urchin populations in the future,” Preusch said on behalf of his client.

A Plains All American Pipeline representative says, “As a matter of practice, we don't comment on these types of legal matters.” However, the company is taking claims on their hotline 866-753-3619.

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