Bet­ter pipe­line safety urged

Two state law­mak­ers call for an­nual in­spec­tions, bet­ter tech­nol­ogy and faster re­sponse to oil leaks.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Pa­trick McGreevy pa­trick.mcgreevy @la­times.com

SACRA­MENTO — Alarmed by last month’s oil spill off Refu­gio State Beach, two law­mak­ers from Santa Bar­bara County said Tues- day that they would pro­pose re­quir­ing an­nual pipe­line in­spec­tions, quicker re­sponses to leaks and bet­ter pre­ven­tion tech­nol­ogy.

They also vowed to try again to bar oil drilling along an en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive por­tion of the coast.

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jack­son (D-Santa Bar­bara) said the spill ex­posed f laws that she and As­sem­bly­man Das Wil­liams (D-Santa Bar­bara) would ad­dress.

“It has re­minded us of just how pre­cious our coast- line and our wildlife are and how vul­ner­a­ble we are,” Jack­son told re­porters in a tele­phone con­fer­ence call.

The pipe­line op­er­a­tor said it in­spected the line re­cently but the re­sults were not back yet. Be­fore that, the last full in­spec­tion was in 2012.

Jack­son said she was dis­mayed to learn that the pipe­line “was not in­spected fre­quently enough.” Her bill, not yet in­tro­duced, would re­quire an­nual in­spec­tions, she said.

The se­na­tor said she would of­fer an­other pro­posal to re­quire two large oil­skim­ming ma­chines to be placed along the Santa Bar­bara County coast and al­low lo­cal com­mer­cial fish­er­men to be dep­u­tized im­me­di­ately to help re­act to a fu­ture spill.

That bill would also cre­ate a mora­to­rium on the use of dis­per­sants pending an EPA study. The se­na­tor also plans to con­tinue to push for leg­is­la­tion that is sched­uled for a Se­nate vote Wed­nes­day to bar off­shore oil drilling in sen­si­tive ar­eas of Tran­quil­lon Ridge off the coast of north­ern Santa Bar­bara County. A sim­i­lar mea­sure died in the Leg­is­la­ture last year amid strong oil in­dus­try op­po­si­tion.

Not­ing that the rup­tured pipe­line did not have an au­to­matic shut-off valve, Wil­liams said he would craft leg­is­la­tion to re­quire pipe­line com­pa­nies to use the best tech­nol­ogy avail­able.

Christina House For The Times

PEO­PLE RALLY near the Santa Bar­bara County oil spill site. Law­mak­ers also want to bar drilling in en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive ar­eas.

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