Political infighting and opposition from the oil industry are choking prospects for a comprehensive oil-spill prevention and cleanup bill in our state capitol.
State Assemblyman Ted Lempert (D-San Mateo) has crafted an excellent bill (AB 2603) to prevent oil spills, provide tougher fines for polluters, and fund clean-up operations along our coast in the case of an accident. But his proposal is hung up in the state Senate, where senators refuse to support AB 2603 because they have already voted on an oil spill bill written by Senate leader Barry Keene (D-Benicia).
Keene's bill, SB 2040, is good, but does not provide enough prevention measures.
The state Legislature should combine the Keene and Lempert measures into a comprehensive and strong oil spill bill. Unless citizens act now, the oil lobbyists may succeed in killing the efforts of Assemblyman Lempert to truly protect our coast from oil spills.
MARK J. PALMER