Courtesy of Assemblyman Robert Rivas’ office:
Today, the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee approved AB 936 on a 7-1 vote. The bill, authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas, puts key measures in place to protect California residents’ health and environment from the threat of a spill of nonfloating oil. The measure now heads to the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.
“Nonfloating oil poses unique challenges in the event of a spill because unlike lighter crude, the oil can quickly sink or become suspended in the water column,” explained Rivas. “California’s current oil spill response program does not have sufficient measures in place to ensure a state-of-the-art response to these heavy crude spills — spills that become more likely as the volume of that oil increases. That’s why I introduced Assembly Bill 936, to enhance response capabilities to ensure the state is prepared for the massive clean-up effort that would be associated with a spill of nonfloating oil in a river or bay.”
“Not all oil is the same,” said Ben Eichenberg, staff attorney for San Francisco Baykeeper, “and non-floating oil is particularly difficult and dangerous to clean up. Assemblymember Rivas’ bill will make San Francisco Bay, and all of California, safer.”
“Any nonfloating oil spill would be a disaster for California,” explained Ann Alexander, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, “but it will be infinitely worse if we’re not ready for it. AB 936 is an essential first step toward preparedness.”
The bill is set to be heard in the Senate Committee on Environmental Quality July 3rd.