Oil-spill smack-down

You spill, you pay

An oil-and-gas company is in hot water after the U.S. Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and other major entities, including the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, filed a civil complaint claiming the company violated federal and state water laws for more than five years in Santa Barbara County, according to a DFG press release.

The complaint was filed against Colorado-based HVI Cat Canyon Inc. (formerly Greka Oil & Gas Inc.) in mid-June in federal court; it claims the company’s corroded pipelines, overflowing injection ponds, and ruptured storage tanks caused 21 oil spills between June 2005 and December 2010.

The complaint also alleges the company failed to create a spill-prevention and -response plan as required by the Clean Water Act. The U.S. is seeking $2.4 million in cleanup costs, and the California DFG wants to be compensated for cleanup efforts and harm done to the environment.