Plains All American oil spill trial begins

Posted at 2:01 PM, May 15, 2018

The criminal trial against Plains All American Pipeline is now underway in Santa Barbara.

The Texas company owns the oil pipeline that spilled more than 140,000 gallons of crude oil near Refugio State Beach on May 19, 2015. Much of that oil flowed into the Pacific Ocean, killing hundreds of birds and marine mammals.

The company faces a 15-count indictment that includes three felonies. The charges say Plains All American violated the Clean Waters Act.

The company has said the spill was an accident, not a crime. 

Jury selection for the trial wrapped up last Thursday. Opening statements were made on Monday and so far, one witness has been called. 

Previously, charges were dropped against a Plains employee and two-thirds of the original charges have been dismissed.

The trial could last two to three months.