The hue and cry over the Cosco Busan oil spill response in San Francisco Bay is finally making itself heard in the California legislature. A least seven new bills have been introduced to force improvements on everything from the state’s oil spill response to volunteer training.
The spill dumped almost 54,000 gallons of bunker crude into the bay after the 900-foot Cosco Busan container ship struck the San Francisco Bay Bridge in heavy fog. The November 2007 disaster closed beaches and killed at least 2,500 birds.
The bills to force change cleared the Assembly Natural Resources committee and will be sent on to the General Assembly.
The bills include:
- Requiring the office of the Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to provide grants that allow local emergency officials to train and certify volunteers to help in cleanup efforts.
-Increasing the Oil Spill Response Trust Fund from $55 million to $100 million by imposing a 25 cent fee on each barrel of oil produced in or imported into California.
- Improve recovery of wildlife affected by an oil spill by developing and implementing training programs for local officials and volunteers.
These bills are the most significant to come out of the legislature since the middle 1990s when a couple of ammendments added more bite to the original Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act that was passed in 1990. That Act required the Administrator of the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to establish rescue and rehabilitation stations for aquatic birds, sea otters, and other marine mammals.
Later in 1993, Senate Bill 775 allowed OSPR to use the interest accrued from the State’s Oil Spill Response Trust Fund to build at least six major centers to care for oiled wildlife.
Read more: San Francisco Chronicle