Evidence of an oil spill was obvious, but was it a crime?
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Texas company that owns an oil pipeline that spilled 140,000 gallons of crude along the California coast faces a criminal trial three years after the disaster.
Jury selection began Thursday in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in the case against Plains All American Pipeline.
The company faces a 15-count indictment that includes three felonies for releasing more than 140,000 gallons (53,000 liters) of oil on May 19, 2015.
The charges say the company violated the Clean Waters Act because some of the oil flowed into the Pacific Ocean at Refugio State Beach.
The company has said the spill was an accident not a crime.
Charges were dropped against a Plains employee and two-thirds of the original charges have been dismissed.
The trial could last months.