Sweeping Oil Spill Reforms Pass California Legislature
Almost a year after a huge container ship collided with the Bay Bridge, spilling 58,000 gallons of oil into the San Francisco bay, a sweeping set of bills have found their way onto Governor Schwarzenegger's desk. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the bills are the most sweeping oil spill reforms in California since the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989.
Thirteen bills were introduced into the Californian legislature, eleven of which were passed by their August 31 deadline. Check below the fold for more on the California oil spill bills.
Oil Spill Reform Bills Pass in California Legislature
The eleven bills are now on Schwarzenegger's desk awaiting final approval. One of the major bills, AB 2032 would increase fees charged to oil companies from five cents to eight cents for every barrel they bring into California. This move would up the funding for the state oil spill cleanups and prevention program by $19 million.
After the San Francisco Bay oil spill almost a year ago, thousands of Bay Area residents came out to help clean up. The state turned them away because they had not received proper training to handle hazardous waste. Bill AB 2031 would require training a corps of fishermen and conservationists in hazardous waste clean-up so they could then in turn train volunteers to do the work if another spill happens.
Other bills include developing funding incentives for people who create more efficient spill cleanup technologies, requiring clean up crews respond to spills within two hours of their occurence, and demanding regular audits of container ship and tanker pilots.
A serious legislative move, bill AB 2911 would double the maximum state civil and criminal penalties to $50,000 per incident for inland oil spills and $1 million for ocean spills.