Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for April 3, 2008

Help Us Reform Policy on Oil Spills, Sewage Spills and Marine Protection

Oil Spill Bills Need Your Support
Baykeeper is working on your behalf to improve oil spill response policy, and we need your help to support a package of legislation currently under consideration by the California Assembly. Many lessons were learned from the 53,000-gallon bunker oil spill on November 7, 2007. While the Cosco Busan spill was the worst ship-related spill in the Bay in nearly two decades, it could have been much worse. By contacting your state assembly members to tell them you support these bills, you can help make sure can the Bay Area is prepared for action when the next oil spill occurs.

The legislation will be presented at a committee hearing on April 7, 2008. Find out how you can voice support for protecting the Bay from oil spills.

Legislation to Stop Raw Sewage Spills
After a decade of efforts to reduce sewage spills and overflows in the Bay Area, Baykeeper recently launched a Sick of Sewage initiative to take our campaign even further. We’re now sponsoring a bill in the California Assembly that will grade local sewer systems so that residents know just how well – or how poorly – their city is performing. Assembly members Mark Leno (District 13) and Jared Huffman (District 6), along with Baykeeper and Friends of the Earth, are sponsoring a bill that seeks to inform every community in California about the health of their sewage infrastructure and to ensure that failing systems will be clearly identified to voters and residents. On April 1, this bill passed its first hurdle when it was approved by the Assembly’s Environmental Safety and Toxics Material Committee.

Once the bill is up for a vote, we’ll be asking you to contact your legislators to express your support for sensible sewage policy. In the meantime, you can do your part to reduce sewage spills in your community with a few simple actions:

* Use less water to reduce the strain on sewer pipes – especially when it rains
* Dispose of cooking grease in the trash – wipe oil out of pans before washing
* Keep your own private sewer lines in good repair

If you are sick of sewage, learn more about what you can do by reading our ten tips for reducing spills.

California Coastlines Need Our Protection
The State of California is currently deciding which undersea areas along the coast deserve a high level of protection from overuse. These Marine Protected Areas – to be established along the North Central coast from Half Moon Bay to Point Arena – will be underwater wilderness preserves, protecting diverse habitats and allowing fish and marine wildlife to thrive.

We need your help to make sure the strongest plan for protecting California’s coastal ecosystems is adopted. Express your support for the best plan by sending an email to the Blue Ribbon Task Force or by attending a meeting in San Rafael on April 22 or 23. Find out how you can speak up for protecting California coastlines for future generations.