Congress probing California oil spill that blackened beaches

FILE - In this May 21, 2015 file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif. The cost of cleaning up the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years has climbed to $92 million. The figure was disclosed Wednesday, June 24, 2015, by Patrick Hodgins of pipeline operator Plains All American Pipeline. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
FILE - In this May 21, 2015 file photo, workers prepare an oil containment boom at Refugio State Beach, north of Goleta, Calif. The cost of cleaning up the largest coastal oil spill in California in 25 years has climbed to $92 million. The figure was disclosed Wednesday, June 24, 2015, by Patrick Hodgins of pipeline operator Plains All American Pipeline. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A congressional committee has opened a probe into a California oil spill that blackened beaches and created a 9-mile ocean slick last month.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday asked the pipeline operator for detailed information on maintenance of the failed line and inspection records.

The panel also wants Plains All American Pipeline to explain what it did in the hours leading up to the break near Santa Barbara, and how it reported the problem.

The Texas company has been facing criticism that it took too long to notify federal emergency officials.

The break in a badly corroded section of pipeline released up to 101,000 gallons of crude oil. An estimated 21,000 gallons entered the ocean.

Federal regulators are seeking the cause.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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