California – Do Not Let Big Oil Win
Oil companies are working very hard this week to block a measure that would protect California’s oceans, beaches, bays and coastlines from oil spills.
This coming Monday, an important bill sponsored by Pacific Environment and supported by several environmental groups will be voted on by the California State Senate. Assembly Bill 1112, authored by Assembly Member Jared Huffman, tightens up our state’s oil spill prevention standards while ensuring that there are adequate funds to manage these programs— and paid for by Big Oil, and not the citizens of California. If this law does not pass, California’s waters will be at risk of devastating and costly oil spills which have severe impacts on our marine environment and public health.
Here’s why this this bill is important:
Our state’s ability to prevent and respond to oil spills is funded by the Oil Spill Prevention Administration Fund (OSPAF), which collects very small fees from the oil industry at a current cap of a nickel per barrel of petroleum product that enters our state. Unfortunately, this fund will be deficient by millions of dollars over the next several years and the state will have no choice but to cut programs and staff as early as 2012. Clearly, that nickel is not enough.
Huffman’s bill, AB 1112, will bring the fund back to solvency by requiring oil companies to pay an additional 1 and ¾ cents per each barrel of petroleum product shipped into California. The bill also strengthens the state’s oil spill prevention program by increasing monitoring and safety measures on board the most dangerous oil tankers and offshore drilling platforms. Unless lawmakers pass this bill, California’s wildlife, beaches and bays, tourism and fishing industries, and human health will be at risk of a catastrophe that could cripple our state.
So, who would be against safeguarding our state from oil spills?