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For Immediate Release: September 9th, 2011

Victory! California Coasts Receive Additional Protection from Oil Spills

California Senate Passes Bill to Strengthen Oil Spill Protection

SACRAMENTO, CA - Legislation to prevent catastrophic oil spills just passed the California legislature this week and is headed to Governor Brown's desk.

The Oil Spill Preparedness Act (Assembly Bill 1112), introduced by Assembly Member Jared Huffman and sponsored by Pacific Environment and San Francisco Baykeeper, strengthens California's oil spill prevention program while making sure that the state program is fully funded to protect California's coastal and marine environment.

"We need to do everything we can to assure that Californians never experience the devastation that our fellow Americans on the Gulf Coast experienced last year," stated Nicole Catalano, spokeswoman for Pacific Environment. "This bill assures that oil companies, not taxpayers, pay for cleaning up an oil spill and it toughens the rules to try to prevent oil spill disasters in the first place."

The Oil Spill Preparedness Act increases the per-barrel fee that oil companies pay to fund the safety program from the current 5-cents to 6.5 - cents, toughens oversight of the highest risk oil tankers, and requires offshore oil drilling rigs to have stringent contingency plans to prevent a Gulf Coast-like tragedy from happening in California.

Without the bill's requirement for additional funding from oil companies, California will be forced to cut oil spill prevention program and staff as early as 2012, leaving protection of our coastline in doubt.

"The need for a robust oil spill program has never been greater. Now that we've seen the results of the BP Gulf oil disaster, we know what the stakes are here on San Francisco Bay," stated Deb Self, Executive Director of San Francisco Baykeeper, which co-sponsored the bill.

For more information about Pacific Environment's work on oil spill prevention and response in California, please click here.

About Pacific Environment
Pacific Environment (www.pacificenvironment.org) is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco that protects the living environment of the Pacific Rim by promoting grassroots activism, strengthening communities and reforming international policies. For nearly two decades, we have partnered with local communities around the Pacific Rim to protect and preserve the ecological treasures of this vital region. Visit www.pacificenvironment.org to learn more about our work.