The Stream, September 11: Houston Pipeline Company Faces Nine Criminal Charges in California Oil Spill

The Global Rundown

A California jury finds the Plains All American Pipeline company guilty of nine criminal charges following a 2015 oil spill that polluted the state’s waters. Scientists launch a huge floating barrier to collect plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Residents of North Carolina’s barrier islands evacuate as Hurricane Florence nears. Heavy rains continue to inundate Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, India. Ten people in Harare, Zimbabwe, succumb to cholera after drinking contaminated water. Drought cuts Brazil’s orange crop by about 5 percent.

“Today’s verdict should send a message: if you endanger our environment and wildlife, we will hold you accountable.” –Xavier Becerra, California’s Attorney General, in reference to a 2015 oil spill that occurred when a corroded pipeline ruptured and sent 123,000 gallons of crude oil into the state’s coastal waters. On Friday, a California jury found the Plains All American Pipeline company guilty of nine criminal charges from the spill, including failure to maintain the pipeline and killing marine mammals and seabirds. The Houston-based company says it “accepts full responsibility for the impact of the accident.” Chicago Tribune

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

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HotSpots H2O, September 10: Deadly Protests in Iraq’s Oil Hub Driven by Polluted Water, Government NeglectProtests over power outages, chronic unemployment, and the city’s deteriorating water system escalated dangerously last week in Basra, the country’s economic capital.

By The Numbers

10 People killed by a cholera outbreak in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. Officials say the outbreak, which has sickened more than 300 people, was caused by a burst sewer pipe that dirtied local boreholes. Reuters

5 tonnes Plastic that will be collected each month by a 600-meter-long floating barrier in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, according to scientists. The barrier was launched over the weekend, and collected debris will be picked up by a vessel every 6 weeks for recycling. The project has been met with some skepticism from environmentalists, who worry that the barrier could hurt marine life and believe more emphasis should be put on preventing plastic waste in the first place. The Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Brazil’s orange harvest is expected to be 5.2 percent below average this year, according to a report by research body Fundecitrus. The lower yield is due to drought-like conditions between May and July, which impacted the size of the fruits. Reuters

On The Radar

Hurricane Florence, now a Category 4 storm, is churning toward the U.S. East Coast. It is expected to make landfall in North Carolina on Thursday night or Friday morning, prompting the evacuation of residents along the state’s barrier islands. The Washington Post

Spotlight: India

Follow The Stream for daily coverage on India’s water crisis.

Severe monsoon rains are impacting the northern Indian states of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Across the states, rivers are rising, dams are reaching capacity, and several bridges and roads have been washed out. Parts of Madhya Pradesh are on alert as well after the government released water from the Bansagar dam. The rains are expected to continue for the next couple days. Relief Web

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