Assemblymember Pedro Nava recently introduced Assembly Bill 1960, meant to give the California Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) more authority over the maintenance of California-based oil companies. DOGGR will ensure that these companies meet the minimum operating standards and are accountable for abandoned wells and oil spills. The bill will also ensure that the state can plug abandoned wells and cover clean-up costs for oil spills.
The many oil spills and environmental violations by Greka Energy prompted Nava to introduce the bill. The Santa Barbara County-based Greka has spilled approximately 550,000 gallons of contaminated material in the last eight years, and about 243,000 since December 2007. The company has been fined and penalized more than $2.5 million, and has had almost 500 local, state, and federal violations.
On June 11, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger met with Nava, announcing his support for the bill. “I am very proud Governor Schwarzenegger is joining forces with me and statewide environmental organizations to better protect California and the environment from pollution,” said Nava in a press release. “This is a huge victory for the residents of Santa Barbara County, the environment and all Californians. I appreciate his full support.”