Updates, Not the answer, Water Quality, Oil Spill
September 14 2015

Oil Spill Prevention & Response Legislation

by Stefanie Sekich-Quinn

The legislative season is full of twists and turns, every year.  This year, the Surfrider Foundation and our partners supported four pieces of legislation that will improve oil spill prevention and responses to help prevent another spill like the Plains Oil Spill in Santa Barbara happen in California.

Unfortunately, one of the bills (SB 788) did not survive under the weight of the oil industry lobby.  SB 788 would have closed a loophole that allows new drilling when federal operations are draining oil from State waters.

On the bright side, three important pieces of legislation are moving to the Governor’s desk. The remaining bills will help improve response procedures, require automatic shutoff technology, and increase safety inspections:

  • Senate Bill 414 (Jackson) Would require the state Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to create a voluntary program for local fishermen to be paid contractors that receive training and can immediately respond to oil spills. Pre-position oil skimmers along the Santa Barbara Coastline and require research on “best available technology.” And most importantly, bans the use of chemical dispersants in state waters until. 
  • Assembly Bill 864 (Williams) All oil contingency plans for a pipeline in environmentally sensitive areas (in state waters or the coast) must include “best available technology”, including automatic shutoff to reduce oil impacts. 
  • Senate Bill 295 (Jackson) Requires annual oil pipeline inspections for all intra-state pipelines and would reestablish the State Fire Marshal’s role in requiring hydrostatic pressure tests as necessary, as well as inspecting federally regulated pipelines. 

 Join us today and urge Governor Jerry Brown to sign the bills into law by sending a letter today!