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Press
Reflections on the San Francisco Oil Spill

Pete Nichols

Nov. 22, 2007

The headline read “Oil Spill Fouls Shores in San Francisco Area.”

58,000 gallons of bunker fuel, the most toxic and least-distilled of petroleum products, gushed from a container ship in San Francisco Bay late last week, impacting beaches up to 20 miles north of the entrance to the bay.

The full extent of the damage done to the San Francisco Bay, the coast and the wildlife that live there has yet to be fully assessed, and perhaps never will. But if we here on the North Coast needed yet another reason not to pursue a container port for Humboldt Bay, this is one to seriously consider.

Humboldt Bay has one of the most treacherous port entrances in the Pacific Northwest. The container ship responsible for the San Francisco spill was same size vessel that would be negotiating the jaws of Humboldt Bay’s mouth to off-load its container cargo.

It would be just a matter of time before one of those massive container ships ended up perched upon the South Jetty, coating the bay and coast in an oily goo. It is not a matter of if, but when, it would happen.

Read more...
 
Humboldt Baykeeper and allies force EPA to close loopholes

Nov. 4, 2007 Press Release

Humboldt Baykeeper

EPA CRITICIZES CALIFORNIA’S LAX POLLUTION PERMITS

(San Francisco) On October 31 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a report criticizing California’s water pollution permits. EPA agreed to perform an audit of randomly selected permits as a condition of a settlement reached in a lawsuit brought by San Francisco Baykeeper, Communities for a Better Environment and Ecological Rights Foundation in 2006.

San Francisco Baykeeper, Humboldt Baykeeper, Communities for a Better Environment and Ecological Rights Foundation sued EPA in 2006 to require the agency to stop California’s Water Boards from including loopholes in pollution permits that effectively exempt large industrial polluters and cities’ sewage plants from having to meet deadlines for pollution limits.

These extensions allowed major dischargers, such as the Tesoro oil refinery, to discharge elevated levels of toxic pollutants such as mercury, dioxin, chlorinated organic pesticides, and PCBs, which are dangerous to both human beings and aquatic species. The Water Boards are tasked with enforcing clean water laws to protect sensitive waterways such as San Francisco, San Diego and Humboldt Bays, the Sacramento, American and San Joaquin Rivers and Santa Monica Bay, which are already listed by California and EPA as severely degraded with toxic pollutants.

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