HEARING ON THE REFUGIO OIL SPILL ON FRIDAY IN SANTA BARBARA
Important questions remain unanswered about the Refugio Oil Spill, and our community and state deserve answers. This Friday, June 26 at 2 p.m., Assemblymember Das Williams and I will hold a joint oversight hearing to examine the causes, response to, and long-term impacts of the spill. It will be held in the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors hearing room, fourth floor, 105 East Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara. It will be open to the public and can also be watched live at this link or on Channel 20 on Cox Cable in Santa Barbara. I encourage you to attend or watch this important hearing.
It will include testimony from the Plains All American Pipeline Company, as well as from environmental groups, emergency responders, and state and local representatives.
In the wake of this spill, we need answers and solutions. We need solutions to help ensure that terrible tragedies like this never happen, but in the rare event that they do, that they are cleaned up as quickly as possible. Ultimately, we need to wean ourselves off oil, and find cleaner ways to power our future.
LEGISLATION IN RESPONSE TO THE SPILL
As the chair of the Senate Select Committee on the Refugio Oil Spill, a committee recently formed to respond directly to this spill, I am authoring legislation to increase oversight over our pipelines, help prevent new offshore oil drilling, and respond to spills quickly:
THE RAPID OIL SPILL RESPONSE ACT. My Senate Bill 414 would help make oil spill response faster, more effective, and more environmentally friendly. This bill would position two oil skimmers at all times along the Santa Barbara coastline to respond to spills; create a voluntary program for local fishing crews to become paid contractors who can respond to spills; and place a moratorium on the use of chemicals known as dispersants to clean up oil spills until their environmental impacts are fully known. Dispersants thankfully have not been used in the Refugio spill clean-up.
PIPELINES INSPECTIONS: There is a critical need for better oversight of our pipelines. My bill would require annual oil pipeline inspections and would reestablish the State Fire Marshal's role in inspecting federally regulated pipelines.
NO NEW OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING: I am jointly authoring Senate Bill 788 to ban new offshore oil drilling in a Marine Protected Area in the Santa Barbara Channel known as Tranquillon Ridge, situated off Vandenberg Air Force base. Tranquillon Ridge is one of the most important bio-regions on the planet. If we don't drill, it can't spill.
I hope you will be able to attend or watch Friday's hearing. Please contact me with your concerns and questions by email, and you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson
State Senator, 19th Senate District