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Court rules oil company in Santa Barbara County responsible for 'gross negligence' in operations

Pawel Czerwinski
A federal court has handed down a major ruling against an oil company in Santa Barbara County for issues with its operations.

HVI Cat Canyon ordered to pay $65 million in fines and cleanup costs

An oil company with a long history of compliance issues with its operations in Santa Barbara County has been fined more than $60 million.

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California handed down the judgement against HVI Cat Canyon. The federal Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, and some state agencies had filed a civil lawsuit against the company.

Cat Canyon is home to the largest operating onshore oil field in Santa Barbara County. It’s about 10 miles southeast of Santa Maria, and HVI is one of the major operators of the field.

The federal court found the company liable for gross negligence for its operations. The ruling notes there were nearly 30 spills in state and federal waterways, and numerous violations of pollution control regulations.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.