Every Bird Matters
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Posts Tagged ‘Schwarzenegger’

October 7, 2008

Schwarzenegger vetos/signs oil spill cleanup bills

Nearly a year following the oil spill that fouled San Francisco Bay, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger last week signed seven bills to help quicken response to spills and to train local volunteer. However, the governor also angered many environmentalists by vetoing three tougher bills.

“Sadly the governor vetoed the stronger bills,” said Warner Chabot in the San Jose Mercury News. “He gave us the gravy but not the meat,” said Chabot, vice president of the Ocean Conservancy, an environmental group in San Francisco.

Schwarzenegger dumped SB 1056, by Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, which would have required cleanup crews to respond to spills in San Francisco Bay within two hours, instead of six, as the law now requires.

AB 2032 was vetoed, by Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-El Cerrito, which have raised the state fee charged to oil companies from 5 cents a barrel to 8 cents a barrel on oil brought into California waters. This would have raised an additional $19 million in new funding for state oil spill response.

Lastly, he vetoed AB 2547, by Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, that earmarked $1 million a year for grants to companies that develop newer oil spill cleanup technology.

The package of bills signed Monday, September 29, 2008 includes:

• AB2031 by Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley forces the state’s Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to setup training and certifications of managers that would turn around and train volunteers.

• AB2935, by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, requires the Department of Fish and Game to close waters to fisherman within 24 hours of an oil spill of 42 gallons or more.

• SB1739, by Senator Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, mandates spill responders to be adequately trained in part by regular and unannounced emergency drills.

• AB1960, by Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, creates an inland oil-spill prevention program.

• AB2911, by Assemblywoman Lois Wolk, D-Davis, makes state Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) administrator’s responsibility to include overseeing clean-up of inland oil spills.

• SB1217, by Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, requires the Board of Pilot Commissioners to submit an annual report to the Legislature regarding licensees, including review of the physical fitness of pilots.

• SB1627, by Senator Patricia Wiggins, D-Santa Rosa, places the Board of Pilot Commissioners under the oversight of the state Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

The spate of bills follow the November 7, 2007 incident that spilled more than 50,000 gallons of bunker crude into San Francisco Bay. The spill response was roundly criticized as too slow, uncoordinated and frustrating to public volunteers who were prevented from quickly helping cleaning up oil or capture oiled animals without attending a mandatory volunteer orientation.

Scientists believe the spill may have killed 20,000 birds. IBRRC was instrumental in rescuing 1,000 but only 420 were returned to the wild.

Cosco Busan response report on IBRRC website

Read the San Francisco Chronicle story

San Jose Mercury News story

September 28, 2008

Schwarzenegger against more offshore oil drilling

Using his strong memory of the catastrophic 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger renewed his opposition to any new oil drilling off the state’s coastline.

Schwarzenegger remembers walking the beach in his Santa Monica bodybuilding days after the Santa Barbara oil spill: “Every single time I walked around Muscle Beach, my feet were stuck with tar and there were dead birds laying around,” Schwarzenegger told the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco this week. “I think the people of California don’t want to go through that again. I think we must protect our pristine coastline.”

Schwarzenegger’s opposition to additional offshore drilling puts him at odds with other Republicans, including presidential candidate John McCain. McCain continues to make offshore oil drilling a major component of his energy platform. He touts the “drill here, drill now” mantra during campaign stops outside California.

Memories of the January 29, 1969 spill are still fresh in this state. The oil spill happened when a Union Oil Co. platform blew out six miles off the coast of Summerland. For eleven days, as 200,000 gallons spewed out of the well, oil workers struggled to cap the rupture. Blown by winds and swells the oil created a 800 square mile slick.

At least 3600 birds – mainly grebes and cormorants – died in the spill. The next year only 200 grebes were counted in an area that was once home to 4000 to 7000.

At the time, Fred L. Hartley, president of Union Oil uttered these insensitive words: “I don’t like to call it a disaster,” because there has been no loss of human life; I am amazed at the publicity for the loss of a few birds.”

Following the spill, Earth Day was born nationwide. Many people consider the oil spill a major impetus to the modern environmental movement.

More history:

Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network: 1969 Oil Spill

Oil Spill in Santa Barbara

Media reports on Schwarzenegger’s speech: San Jose Mercury News