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Sunday, December 16 , 2018, 12:17 pm | A Few Clouds 63º


Williams’ Legislation in Response to Refugio Oil Spill Clears Senate Committee

Less than a month after Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Carpinteria, chair of Natural Resources Committee, held an oversight hearing to examine the recent Refugio oil spill, legislation he introduced in response to the incident passed out of Senate Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 864 is now headed to Senate Appropriations Committee. A hearing date in this committee has not been set.

“It was clear during the recent oversight hearing that the defective pipeline was not equipped with leak detection technology and automatic shut-off valves,” Williams said. “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.”

Assembly Bill 864 would require 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 a description of the best achievable technology used in this process.

Over 101,000 gallons of oil was spilled during the 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 Assemblyman Das Williams.


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