Environment 10-2

Looking to fortify the state’s authority over oil spillers, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approved five pieces of legislation, including one authored by Santa Barbara Assemblymember Pedro Nava. AB1960 is a direct response to Greka Energy’s repeated oil spills in Santa Barbara County. It beefs up the Department of Conservation’s oversight of inland oil producers and grants the power to shut down producers who spill excessively.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on 10/1 that it once again has taken over clean-up work on a derelict Greka Energy operation. According to the EPA, Greka failed to meet “multiple clean-up deadlines” at their Gato Ponds oil facility near Santa Maria. This marks the third time since 2005 that Greka’s clean-up operations have been federalized. Greka faces up $32,500 in fines for each day that it was in violation of clean-up standards.

California Coast Cleanup Day, which this year took place on 9/20, resulted in the removal of 2,070 pounds of trash and 582 pounds of recyclable materials from Santa Barbara County beaches, it was reported last week. Statewide, some 55,000 volunteers removed about 742,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from 750 locations around California. (/cleanup1002)

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