Local News

Oct 12, 2010 8:56 PM by Monica Quintero

Executive Order makes changes to protect coastline

The massive Gulf oil spill has prompted state and local leaders to evaluate what needs to be done to prevent and respond to oil disasters. On Tuesday, Acting Governor Abel Maldonado signed an Executive Order in Goleta. It features three major changes to better protect our coastline. Maldonado says number one on the list is a third party inspector.

The Gulf oil spill was the largest and worst environmental disaster in our nation's history and we've had our own history. The massive oil spill near Santa Barbara in 1969 dumped about 3 million gallons of oil off the south coast. Dan Secord, California Coastal Commission, said, "There were dead birds everywhere. It was just a terrible, terrible time in Santa Barbara. We don't want that anymore."

The Executive Order mandates qualified third parties begin inspecting blowout preventers on all rigs in California's waters. Maldonado said, "We ought to have a third party inspector out there overseeing what's going on because no shortcuts will be taking place off the coast of California."

It also mandates contingency plans be updated to a 30 day response plan from a seven day response plan. Maldonado said, "Louisiana has a seven day response plan, you can see what happened." Helene Schneider, Santa Barbara Mayor, said, "We're certainly different from the Gulf of Mexico, the oil rigs are much closer." She goes on to say, "I think the important thing is as long as we're drilling along our coastline we need to do everything we can."

Santa Barbara's Mayor, like others at the event, traveled to Louisiana and saw firsthand the devastation. They say communication is key on the local, state and federal levels. The third important change is that those updated response plans must be submitted to the Office of Spill Prevention and Response by January 1st of next year

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