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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 6:42 am | Fair 50º


Williams Bill in Response to Refugio Spill Heads to Gov. Brown

Less than three months after Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria), chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, held an oversight hearing to examine the recent Refugio oil spill, the measure he introduced in response to the incident won legislative approval.

Assembly Bill 864 is now headed to Governor Jerry Brown, who has until Oct. 11 to take action.

“The Refugio Oil Spill gave us a prime and devastating example of a defective pipeline that was not equipped with leak detection technology and automatic shut-off valves,” said Assemblymember Williams. “We know there is always tremendous risk to areas surrounding offshore and onshore coastal drilling. The law should reflect this truth by requiring operators to take every precaution available and use the best achievable technology when drilling and transporting oil and gas.”

Assembly Bill 864 requires pipelines in environmentally and ecologically sensitive areas along the coast to use the best achievable technology to reduce the amount of oil released during oil spills.

This technology should include leak detection systems, automatic shut-off valves or remote controlled, sectionalized block valves to protect state waters and wildlife. 

The bill will additionally require the pipeline operator to add to their oil spill contingency plan and a description of the best achievable technology used in this process.

Over 101,000 gallons of oil were spilled during the May 19 Refugio incident, affecting hundreds of wildlife species, including birds, sea lions, dolphins and other sea life.

The oil spill has gravely affected the coast line, ocean waters, wildlife and the local economy near Santa Barbara beaches, with tar balls affecting more southern coastal areas.

— Lourdes Jimenez is the chief of staff for Assemblymember Das Williams. 

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