Adding teeth to a number of proposals to better protect California's inland and coastal environment from potential oil and gas pipeline ruptures, Governor Jerry Brown signed a series of bills requiring stricter state inspection of all intrastate pipelines on an annual basis, mandatory leak detection systems for pipelines in environmentally sensitive areas, and the enlistment of fisherman to help contain oil spills when the occur. The fisherman would be equipped with containment gear in the event of a rupture.
The measures were introduced by Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson and Assemblyman Das Williams, both Democrats from Santa Barbara. “The Refugio Oil Spill gave us a prime and devastating example of a defective pipeline that was not equipped with leak detection technology and automatic shut-off valves,” Williams said.
“We know there is always tremendous risk to areas surrounding offshore and onshore coastal drilling,” he added. “The law should reflect this truth by requiring operators to take every precaution available and use the best achievable technology when drilling and transporting oil and gas.”
Some 195 birds and 106 marine mammals have been found dead in the spill area.
The leak detectors and shut-off valves must be used in replacement pipelines in ecologically sensitive areas in the coastal zone starting Jan. 1, 2018.