Governor Signs Asm. Rivas’ Bill to Protect Health and the Environment

Monday, October 14, 2019

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Governor Newsom has signed AB 936, legislation to protect public health and the environment authored by Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister). “I thank the Governor for signing this critical bill to protect the people of California,” said Rivas. “AB 936 takes bold steps to ensure first responders are properly equipped and have the information they need to deal with the unique challenges posed by a spill of nonfloating oil. Our communities are counting on us and this shows a serious commitment to ensure their health and safety.” 

“I’m thrilled for the great work that Assemblymember Rivas led to protect our environment from a potential spill of nonfloating oil,” said Former California Secretary of Natural Resources and former Assemblymember John Laird. “The bill fills a critical gap in existing law and I applaud the Governor and Legislature for taking this important action.”

“This is good news for all of the sensitive waters in California--from Big Sur to San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles--that are under threat of spills of nonfloating oil like tar sands,” said Ben Eichenberg, San Francisco Baykeeper's staff attorney. “It's great to see California, with the guidance of Assemblymember Rivas, assert leadership on this issue.”

“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,” said Ann Alexander, Senior Attorney, Nature Program, Natural Resources Defense Council. “The Governor and Legislature have 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.”

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 becomes law January 1, 2020.