State Representative Lois Wolk (D-Davis) has introduced legislation regarding oil spills for inland waters. It comes just months after a cargo ship spilled 53,000 gallons of oil into the San Francisco Bay after colliding into the Bay Bridge.
Although it’s commendable that these bills are being proposed and hopefully being passed, they should be put forward before the spills actually take place. This inland oil spill problem has been a constant dilemma. While marine damage gets the majority of the attention, inland oil spills currently make up 75 percent of all spills. So it comes as a shock that this bill was not proposed sooner; inland spills have been an ongoing issue for many years, even before the Costco Busan accident.
This bill will provide an important and clarified structure to deal with spills, enabling response agencies to take prompt action and prevent further damage to the site. Inland spills often occur in or near rivers, which could potentially damage neighboring ecosystems. However, with more developed training, this problem can be better addressed. Appropriately, this would go hand in hand with properly training those assigned to cleaning such sites.
Included in this packet of legislation is a provision to create penalties for inland spills equal to those of marine spills. Hopefully, this encourages oil companies to take more caution with transporting their cargo, as they are now more accountable for their accidents.