Small businesses had until July 2022 to submit a request for a Small Business Administration (SBA) federal catastrophe mortgage for financial harm due to the Orange County oil spill that started in October 2021.
The SBA Loan for the Orange County Oil Spill
The financial assistance is available to businesses of any size, including non-agricultural businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses, and most private nonprofits. Any company that has suffered damage of up to $2 million can apply for a loan. The loan is there to help small businesses meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.
The SBA determines the loan terms but can vary on a case-by-case basis. Companies in the Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties can access the SBA low-interest loans. They can use the loans to pay fixed debts, salaries, accounts payable and other bills that the effects of a natural disaster may have hindered. Businesses can expect to pay 2.855 percent, while private nonprofits can expect to pay 2 percent over 30 years.
The Orange County Oil Disaster and Its Implications
The disaster saw 25,000 gallons of crude oil leak into waters off the coast of Huntington Beach. The oil spill spread itself over a distance of 25 square miles. The oil spill resulted in the cancellation of activities, fishing, and closure of beaches and damaged sensitive wildlife and habitats in areas rich in animals such as humpback whales, sea seals, and sea turtles.
The company responsible for the oil spill, Amplify Energy, faced charges of negligence due to their lack of response to the leak; at one point, it took them three hours to shut off the pipeline. Amplify Energy is suing two shipping companies for their role in the spill. They suspect one or more ships anchored near the pipeline, and their anchors dragged the pipeline more than 100 feet, damaging it. The Texas-based oil company and two subsidiaries have agreed to pay $13 million in federal fines and costs.
In the plea deal, the companies agreed to pay a $7.1 million criminal fine and $5.8 million for the cleanup.
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