AG candidate strengthens regulations for oil companies

Kathy Woods Aug. 21, 2009, 12:00pm

Pedro Nava (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California officials are drafting tougher regulations for the oil industry to comply with legislation by state Assemblyman Pedro Nava, a candidate for state attorney general.

Already, the California Department of Conservation has released draft regulations to implement Nava's oil spill prevention law.
The Santa Barbara Democrat said he introduced the legislation after learning of Greka Energy's record of oil spills.

The company, he said, spilled 86,000 gallons of polluted materials in 2007 and over the next year another 221,927 gallons. Since 2003, Greka has been allowed to operate under county issued permits, despite the many fines from state, federal and local authorities, Nava said in a statement

"People I talked to couldn't understand why more wasn't being done to protect the environment and public health. The County Fire Department, Hazardous Material Responders and others worked very hard to protect the public. They were doing their jobs. It was clear that the state of California needed greater authority in these situations. Polluters will now be held accountable when spills occur," Nava said.

Under the minimum maintenance standard, operators will be required to conduct visual inspections for leaks and corrosion at least once a month. If they cannot safely hold fluid they will be deemed out-of-service. Tanks that are deemed out-of-service must be repaired within 60 days. Tanks will be required to have concrete or gravel foundations.

The spill prevention and contingency plans must be submitted to the California Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources within six months of the date the regulations become effective. Plans must be updated every 5 years.

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