Atwater oil spill: A year later, a new law and a business still closed
Plains All American Pipeline, the same company that operates the pipe that polluted a Santa Barbara County beach last week, was also responsible for a spill in Atwater Village one year ago.
The mess has long since been cleaned up, but a couple of things have changed since the early morning hours of May 14, 2014, when oil gushed out of control.
The crude flooded a nude entertainment venue next door called The Gentlemen's Club. The business hasn't re-opened since, with the loss of some 50 jobs and tax revenues to the city, said owner Michael King Khorsandi.
Khorsandi declined to speak in detail about the extent of damage to his club in the commercial strip of San Fernando Road. He said he feared he might jeopardize a settlement he hopes to reach with Plains All American.
Plains did not immediately respond to questions about the Atwater spill or Khorsandi's business.
Quick action by the Fire Department blocked the oil from getting into the nearby Los Angeles River and harming birds and wildlife, said Liz Crosson, executive director of L.A. Waterkeeper, a nonprofit group that advocates for the health of coastal and inland waterways in L.A. County.
But environmentalists used the Atwater spill and other incidents to encourage lawmakers to pass a new state law, SB 861, which lets the fund for coastal oil cleanups be used for future inland spills like Atwater's.