Baykeeper's E-Newsletter for November 20, 2009

Our Continuing Investigation into the Dubai Star

Dubai_Star_spillBaykeeper continues to press forward with our investigation of the Dubai Star oil spill of October 30.

Digging into the details of state and federal regulations, we’re finding some serious potential gaps in requirements, agency oversight and enforcement, and we'll keep you updated as we explore issues with current fueling practices – including whether booming before every fueling operation should be required to help prevent similar spills in the future.

At the Harbor Safety Committee meeting this week, we laid out key questions about the fueling company's actions on the day of the spill. The California Office of Spill Prevention is reporting that a fueling nozzle may have been left unattended during the transfer of bunker fuel, allowing one of the ship's fuel tanks to overflow. Contrary to some public statements, our conversations with the Coast Guard indicate that the fueling company’s actions are still under investigation.

For more frequent updates, check our homepage, or sign up on Baykeeper's Facebook page and Twitter feed.

The Ghost Fleet: Staying or Going?

Ghost_FleetThe federal government recently announced plans to finally dismantle two ships from the Ghost Fleet, a set of decades-old, decaying military vessels anchored in Suisun Bay.

They're assuring the public that the ships are seaworthy enough to be towed to Texas (where they will be disassembled under less stringent environmental laws), but we're coordinating with fellow Waterkeepers along the coast to monitor the ships’ impact on their long route through open water.

In the meantime, Baykeeper continues pressing for a local cleanup option that will allow the other 55 ships to be safely dismantled under California regulations and with a local labor force. It's time for the federal government to step up its efforts to address this ongoing source of pollution to the Bay.

Read more about Baykeeper's lawsuit to clean up the Ghost Fleet.

Challenging Flawed Storm Water Regulations

Last month the San Francisco Regional Water Board adopted the final Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit, which regulates pollution that enters the Bay through city storm drains. For almost five years, we've been advocating for a strong permit to effectively protect the Bay from pollution washed from city streets, such as trash, oil, pesticides and fertilizers.

egret_trashUnfortunately, the new permit allows too many loopholes for storm water pollution to continue unchecked – especially compared to other parts of California that are taking innovative steps to reduce this key source of pollution.

For example, the new permit:
-- does not include adequate requirements for low impact design techniques like green roofs and rainwater harvesting; and
-- lacks serious monitoring requirements and enforceability measures for contamination from mercury and PCBs, a legacy of historic mining and industrial operations.

So Baykeeper is appealing to the State Water Board to overturn the permit. The SF Regional Water Board seems prepared to let Southern California zoom ahead of the Bay Area when it comes to pollution controls.

Our local regulations should include a strong, innovative plan to keep storm water pollution out of the Bay. Baykeeper will continue advocating to protect the Bay and its wildlife from this harmful source of pollution.

Upcoming Art Shows to Benefit Baykeeper

Please join us for these celebrations of art, sustainability and a healthy San Francisco Bay.

surferSurf Art Opening Party
Loose Connections

Friday, Dec 4, 7 to 11 pm
PKirkeby Fine Art and Framing
128 Texas Street, SF (map)

Coastal artists present surf culture – waves, beach landscapes, coastal art and of course, surfers in action!

Enjoy beer and taco truck catering. 25% of proceeds will go to Baykeeper as the leading nonprofit keeping the Bay and nearby ocean waters healthy for surfers, swimmers, sailors and kayakers.

jewelry_stingrayJewelry Artisans Collective
Holiday Trunk Show
Green and Gold: Adorn Responsibly

Friday, Dec 11, noon to 9 pm
Saturday & Sunday, Dec 12-13, noon to 6 pm
Live Worms Gallery
1345 Grant Ave, SF (map)

Members of San Francisco’s Jewelry Artisans Collective debut their group exhibit, “Green and Gold: Adorn Responsibly.” These metal artists are dedicated to using sustainable and reclaimed products for their handmade jewelry.

10% of sales will go to Baykeeper as the lead advocate for cleaning up the Bay's mercury contamination, much of which is a result of historic gold mining practices.

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Dubai Star Investigation Continues; Challenges to Ghost Fleet and Storm Water Regs