Oil Company to Face Felony Charges Over Massive California Spill

In this May 21, 2015, file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., two days after a ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years. (photo: Jae C. Hong/AP)
In this May 21, 2015, file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif., two days after a ruptured pipeline created the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25


Samantha Page | Think Progress | Reader Supported News | May 18, 2016

he company responsible for spilling 140,000 gallons of oil on the Pacific coastline near Santa Barbara, California, has been indicted on 46 charges, including four felony charges. One employee of Plains All American Pipeline was also indicted.

The company faces up to $2.8 million in fines plus additional costs and penalties, which would be split between the state and Santa Barbara County. The employee, 41-year-old environmental and regulatory compliance specialist James Buchanan, faces up to three years in jail.

“Crimes against our environment must be met with swift action and accountability,” California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement. “This conduct is criminal and today’s charges serve as a powerful reminder of the consequences that flow from jeopardizing the well-being of our ecosystems and public health.”

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Calif. Judge Throws Out Kill-Gays Ballot Measure


Associated Press | South Florida Gay and Lesbian News | June 24, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California judge has thrown out a proposed ballot initiative that advocated killing anyone who engages in gay sex, calling the measure “patently unconstitutional.”

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Raymond Cadei relieved California’s attorney general late Monday of the duty to clear the so-called Sodomite Suppression Act for signature-gathering. Cadei said it would be “inappropriate, waste public resources, generate unnecessary divisions among the public, and tend to mislead the electorate” for Attorney General Kamala Harris to process the proposal.

Harris had asked for a judge’s permission in March to reject the initiative through a legal complaint against its sponsor, Orange County lawyer Matthew McLaughlin. After McLaughlin did not attempt to defend the measure in court, the attorney general last week sought a default ruling in her favor, a request Cadei granted.

“This proposed act is the product of bigotry, seeks to promote violence, is patently unconstitutional and has no place in a civil society. I applaud the court’s decision to block its title and summary,” Harris said in a statement Tuesday.

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California’s AG Kamala Harris Announces Bid for Barbara Boxer’s US Senate Seat

Kamala Harris. (photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
Kamala Harris. (photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Michael R. Blood and Kevin Freking | Associated Press | Reader Supported News | January 13, 2015

alifornia Attorney General Kamala Harris plans to become the first prominent Democrat to enter what’s expected to be a full field in the 2016 race to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate.

Harris, the first woman and the first minority to serve as California’s top prosecutor, planned to announce the move Tuesday morning, according to an adviser not authorized to discuss her plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Harris, a former two-term San Francisco district attorney, is a friend of President Obama’s and attracted national attention when she helped negotiate a settlement with major mortgage lenders and secured extra funding for California. She has been widely viewed as an eventual candidate for governor or U.S. senator.

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9th Circuit move allows gay weddings in California

Anita Creamer, Hudson Sangree and Jeffrey Dastin | Sacramento Bee | June 29, 2013

The news took the state by surprise: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday afternoon lifted its stay on same-sex marriages, making California the 13th state to legalize gay marriage.

Within minutes, gay and lesbian couples were taking their vows before county clerks around the state.

The appeals court had previously said it would wait to lift the stay for 25 days after the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week declined to rule on California’s voter-approved gay marriage ban, essentially removing the last legal barrier to same-sex marriage.

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