California Assembly Votes to Ban Plastic Microbeads in Consumer Products

The California Assembly voted today to ban the sale of consumer products containing plastic microbeads. Microbeads are tiny particles of plastic used in facial scrubs, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, eyeliner, lip gloss, deodorant, and sunblock. When these products are washed down a sink or shower drain, they aren’t removed by treatment at a wastewater plant—so they enter San Francisco Bay.

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City Council Votes to Oppose Coal Shipment through Richmond

The city council of Richmond this week passed a resolution opposing the transport of coal and petroleum coke (a toxic byproduct of oil refining) in open rail cars through the city. Shipping coal and pet coke in open cars can spread highly toxic dust into surrounding areas, contaminating neighborhoods near railroad tracks. The dust can also be washed and blown into San Francisco Bay.

Shipping of Tar Sands Crude Oil into Bay Area Increases the Threat of Spills in the Bay

Local oil refineries plan to bring more crude oil from the Canadian tar sands into the Bay Area by ship, raising the risk of spills of this heavy, dirty oil into San Francisco Bay.

“This is heavy oil. It sinks. If it’s spilled from a ship, it’s going to instantaneously cover the bottom of the Bay which will almost automatically kill everything that is on the Bay floor,” said Sejal Choksi-Chugh, Baykeeper Interim Executive Director. “We shouldn’t even be contemplating having those vessels come in to the Bay until we are ready to deal with a spill.”

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Concord Auto Dismantler Agrees to Keep Runoff from Polluting the Bay

McHugh Auto Wrecking in Concord recently agreed to make significant changes to its site in order to keep the auto dismantler’s toxic runoff from polluting San Francisco Bay. Baykeeper brought suit under the Clean Water Act based on McHugh Auto Wrecking’s self-reported sampling of storm water running off its site. The sampling showed that the facility was releasing high levels of pollutants such as copper, lead, zinc, and aluminum into tributaries of nearby Carquinez Strait, which flows into the Bay.

Low Water Use in the Bay Area But Region Still Failing to Meet Reduction Targets

Residential water use in the Bay Area averaged 58 gallons per person per day this February, making it the most water efficient urban region in the state. Compared with February 2013, however, consumption was reduced by only 8% - a far cry from Governor Brown's recent 25% mandatory target.

Baykeeper Sponsors State Bill to Protect Bay and Wildlife from Toxic Spills

Baykeeper is sponsoring state legislation that would protect wildlife and San Francisco Bay waters if a toxic non-petroleum substance is spilled or dumped into the Bay. Senate Bill 718, introduced by Senators Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, was inspired by the January release of a mysterious sticky gray substance into San Francisco Bay, dubbed in press reports as “mystery goo,” that killed more than 200 birds and harmed many more.

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