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Santa Barbara oil spill spurs suite of state legislation by local lawmakers

Flickr member Mike Baird

A pair of Central Coast lawmakers are working on a set of new bills to address concerns following last month's oil spill on the Santa Barbara coast.

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) said Tuesday that she'll soon introduce two new pieces of legislation. One will cover rapid clean-up response and the other will address oil pipeline inspections.

Assembly Member Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) said he's addressing the issue of pipeline technology, including the addition of automatic shut-off valves.

Plains All-American Pipeline Spokesman Rick McMichael said last week that those valves would have caused pressure problems in Pipe 901, resulting in even more damage. Williams said that situation needs to be investigated.

"You know, he's really bringing up an issue that doesn't take into account their current level of engineering expertise," said Williams. "Automatic shut-off valves will increase the pipeline safety and they have the capability of engineering for the pressure changes that would be created by such a valve."

Senator Jackson is also working on the California Coastal Protection Act (SB 788) which is set for a vote Wednesday on the Senate floor.