State Legislature Approves Assemblymember Rivas’ Oil Transportation Safety Bill

Friday, September 13, 2019

(SACRAMENTO) –The California State Legislature passed AB 936, authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), which improves the state’s preparedness to protect people and communities from a potential spill of nonfloating oil.

“It is essential that we do everything we can as a state to protect our marine life, waterways, and public health from any potential oil spills,” said Rivas. “Nonfloating oil spills pose unique challenges, as this type of oil tends to sink to the bottom of our oceans and lakes, and can require specialized techniques and equipment for cleanup. AB 936 will ensure that California is prepared to protect our coastal regions, and all communities through which oil is transported, in the event of a nonfloating oil spill.”

Former California Secretary of Natural Resources and former Assemblymember John Laird explained, "Since the first major coastal oil spill decades ago, California has developed a strong response system, a system that has had to be updated as factors change. Assemblymember Robert Rivas has identified the differences in a spill that could be caused by newer, heavier forms of oil, and has crafted good legislation to keep our response system current to those heavier types of oil. I am pleased to support this bill."

“A nonfloating oil spill is just about the worst thing that could happen to our state’s coastline - as anyone who lived through the Kalamazoo River spill a few years ago can tell you. The legislature has thankfully sent a message that California will do everything possible to track where this oil is going, and be ready to clean it up should disaster strike,” said Ann Alexander, Senior Attorney, Nature Program, Natural Resources Defense Council.

AB 936 enhances oil transportation safety in California by defining nonfloating oil in statute and ensuring that safety standards are regularly updated to incorporate the best possible tools for clean-up. The bill also enhances the collection of information on nonfloating oil moving through California, by requiring the CA Energy Commission to collect and publish such data concerning movements of crude by rail car and vessel.

The bill received bi-partisan support and now heads to the Governor for consideration.

Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) represents the 30th Assembly District. This district includes the communities of Aromas, Big Sur, Chualar, Gilroy, Greenfield, Gonzales, Hollister, King City, Morgan Hill, Salinas, San Juan Bautista, Soledad, Spreckels, and Watsonville.