Small Businesses in California Affected by 2021 Oil Spill Face Important Deadline

Small businesses in California have been recently reminded of the July 27, 2022, deadline to apply for an SBA federal disaster loan for economic injury caused by the pipeline oil spill in Orange County that began October 2, 2021.

Small Businesses in California Affected by Oil Spill Face Important Deadline

Director Tanya N. Garfield of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Disaster Field Operations Center-West said the reminder was for small non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private non-profit organizations of any size. Such businesses can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans up to $2 million to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster.

Low-Interest Loan Availability

The low-interest federal disaster loans are available in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

The interest rate is 2.855% for businesses and 2% for private non-profit organizations with terms up to 30 years. Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s unique financial condition.

Pay Fixed Debts, Payroll and More

Director Garfield said of the loans: “Economic Injury Disaster Loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid because of the disaster’s impact. Economic injury assistance is available regardless of whether the applicant suffered any property damage.”

The disaster itself involved 25,000 gallons of crude oil leaking into waters off the coast of Huntington Beach. Oil from the spill spread over a distance of 25 square miles and led to canceled events and closed beaches. It also shuttered fisheries for weeks and harmed sensitive wildlife and habitat in an area rich with animal life such as humpback whales, harbor seals and sea turtles.

Oil transportation firm Amplify Energy was operating the broken pipe and has caused controversy by allegedly using a ‘streamlined, opaque permitting process to repair and restart’ the pipeline. The company is facing a misdemeanor negligence charge over their response to the leak, while Amplify Energy themselves are suing two ship operators over their potential roles in causing the damage to the pipe. This comes after an investigation discovered the pipeline had shifted by 105 feet, rupturing the pipe’s casing and causing the oil spill. The damage was likely caused by one or more ship anchors catching on the pipe and dragging it along the sea bed.

Recently, four Southern California representatives shared a letter condemning the approval process. The letter read: “This expedited approval process is unwarranted and dangerous. This is no ordinary repair – it is a repair of a decades-old, sub-sea pipeline following a significant rupture and leakage. Given the threat this aging infrastructure poses to our ecologically sensitive marine resources, coastal economy, and communities, this project requires site-specific analysis before the federal government grants its approval.”

How to Apply for SBA Disaster Loans

Applicants for a disaster loan can apply online as well as receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at the Disaster Loan Assistance website. They can also email or call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability, can dial 711 to access telecommunications relay services.

Completed applications must be mailed to the U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, whose address is 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX  76155.

Image: Depositphotos

This article, “Small Businesses in California Affected by 2021 Oil Spill Face Important Deadline” was first published on Small Business Trends