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Arraignment On Criminal Charges In Connection With Santa Barbara County Oil Spill Postponed

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Crews start cleanup at Refugio State Beach after May 19th, 2015 oil spill

The arraignment of an oil company and one of its employees on criminal charges stemming from a major oil spill in Santa Barbara County is being postponed, but part of the indictment has been released.

The Santa Barbara County Superior court action against Plains All-American Pipeline and employee James Buchanan is being moved from June 6th to June 30th at the request of defense attorneys. The charges stem from the May 19th, 2015 pipeline rupture at Refugio State Beach, which released 140,000 gallons of oil onto the ground, the beach, and into the ocean.

The court ruled that the first part of the indictment, which contains 46 charges, can be released to the public. The charges range from allegations the company should have known a spill was possible from the pipeline, to claims that they failed to make proper notification of the spill. Attorneys for the oil company have filed motions to try to seal the remaining part of the indictment, as well as transcripts of the Grand Jury proceedings.

A hearing is set for those motions on June 16th.