While not knowing many of the details surrounding the issue of oil spill response, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, it is clearly crucial that California maintain an ability to respond effectively to any oil spill along our shoreline.
And, an important addition, we should certainly be moving towards allowing more drilling for oil—covered by the highest level of protection available—along our coastline.
“Standing on the deck of the Exxon Valdez within hours after the tanker ran aground in March 1989, I watched 11 million gallons of toxic crude oil drift in a thick mat toward the shoreline of Alaska’s Prince William Sound.
“As Alaska commissioner of environmental conservation, I knew the first few hours of an oil or hazardous-substance discharge are crucial. The ability to respond to an oil spill – and respond quickly – is critical to reducing harm to ocean life, coastal communities and livelihoods.
“Last year’s BP oil disaster off the coast of Louisiana was yet another tragic reminder of the importance of both prevention and response preparedness. And here in California, recent experience also underscores the importance of oil spill prevention and response: In just the past five years, the vessels Cosco Busan, Dubai Star and DaTang 18 have made headlines and destroyed ocean life by spilling fuel off our coast.
“With all of this evidence in front of us, it is hard to understand how a common-sense proposal designed simply to maintain California’s oil spill prevention and response training capacity could be at serious risk in the Legislature.
“Here’s how it works: California’s oil spill prevention and response programs are primarily managed by the Office of Spill Prevention and Response, and paid for by the Oil Spill Prevention and Administration Fund. The fund comes from a 5 cent fee on each barrel of crude oil or petroleum product delivered to a marine terminal in California. That is, funding for oil spill prevention and response training comes not from taxpayers, but from the oil companies themselves – companies that have, by the way, posted massive profits in the past two quarters.”