Sen. Feinstein calls to improve response plans

February 7, 2008 10:44:04 PM PST
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called today for the U.S. Coast Guard to implement stricter standards on oil spill response and preparedness.

In a letter to Coast Guard Commandant Thad Allen, Feinstein called on the agency to implement a revised contingency plan for the San Francisco area, detailing existing oil spill response assets and prioritizing areas vulnerable to spills.

Feinstein also recommended the Coast Guard update its own standards for oil spill preparedness and response, including requiring that all cargo ships carrying large amounts of fuel have double hulls.

The Nov. 7 Cosco Busan oil spill released approximately 54,000 gallons of heavy bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay, temporarily closing beaches throughout the Bay Area and killing thousands of birds.

The Coast Guard had been criticized for slow reporting of the size of the spill and lack of coordination with local agencies.

In the first of two reports the Coast Guard commissioned, released publicly Jan. 28, the agency acknowledged some shortcomings, and pledged greater integration of spill command centers, improved notification protocols, and better training and coordination for volunteers wanting to assist with cleanup.