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.
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.
The May 19 spill of 21,000 gallons of oil into the Santa Barbara Channel shows how vulnerable California waters are, and how much San Francisco Bay needs strong protection from oil spills.
San Francisco Baykeeper is pleased to announce that our new Executive Director is Sejal Choksi-Chugh. Sejal has been an organizational leader on staff for 13 years, most recently serving as Program Director, and for the last several months, also as Interim Executive Director.
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.”
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.
Baykeeper’s Sejal Choksi-Chugh Receives Environmental Leadership Award
Sejal Choksi-Chugh, Baykeeper’s Program Director and Interim Executive Director, was honored on April 9 with the UC Berkeley Law Ecology Law Quarterly’s annual Environmental Leadership Award.
In the 25th victory for Baykeeper’s Bay-Safe Industry Campaign, Cole Brothers Auto Wrecking, an auto dismantling facility in Oakland, recently agreed to implement controls to protect San Francisco Bay from the company’s contaminated runoff.
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 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.