Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 3, 2022


Kristen Monsell, (510) 844-7137,

Following California Oil Spill, Amplify Energy Is Warned That Pipeline Activities Are Unlawful Without Permit

With Oil Leak Stopped, Steps to Restart Pipeline Threaten Marine Mammals

LONG BEACH, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity sent a letter today to Amplify Energy — operator of the offshore oil pipeline that ruptured off the California coast in October — warning that its proposed activities to restart the pipeline are unlawful without a permit to disturb marine mammals. Amplify Energy has proposed to cut out portions of the broken pipeline, weld in new parts, sand blast the seafloor, and drop concrete mats in San Pedro Bay.

These construction and related activities, said the letter, threaten to harass and disturb whales, dolphins and seals and require a permit under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

“Whales and dolphins have suffered enough from the oil spill, and restarting that broken pipeline would cause even more harm,” said Kristen Monsell, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Amplify Energy should shut down its aging oil platforms and pipelines for good. Proceeding with pipeline repairs without federal permits to better protect marine mammals would only add insult to injury.”

Today’s letter urges Amplify Energy to decommission its old infrastructure because offshore drilling is dangerous for the oceans and climate. If the oil company insists on restarting its pipeline, it must get federal permits that will safeguard marine mammals from noise, contaminants and vessel collisions.

The October oil spill leaked tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean, closed miles of beaches and fisheries, and killed and injured birds and marine mammals. The spill’s source was Amplify Energy’s pipeline from Platform Elly to Long Beach that services Beta Unit offshore-oil platforms in federal waters off California.

Amplify Energy has an application pending with the federal government for underwater construction activities that aim to return the oil pipeline to service.

In November the Center for Biological Diversity sent a notice of its intent to sue the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management for failing to review and require revision of the Beta Unit plans, despite the recent oil spill, the age of the infrastructure and other changes since the plans were approved about four decades ago.

California oil platforms like Platform Elly have long outlived their expected lifespan. Another oil sheen was reported just last week, near a pipeline operated by DCOR, LLC that runs from Platform Eva, in state waters off Huntington Beach.

Offshore oil platforms Ellen and Elly near Long Beach, Calif. Credit: Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Image is available for media use.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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