Press Releases

Rep. Peters Leads Call for Community Oversight over Toxic Polluters

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) spoke on the House floor supporting his amendment to H.R. 1335 to give communities input and increase the ability of local agencies to hold polluters more accountable after an oil or hazardous materials spill.

“Coastal communities deal with the harm from a spill long after the initial cleanup ends, and they deserve greater oversight over those who caused the damage,” Rep. Peters said. “In San Diego, where the maritime industry and our large natural harbor are key parts of our region’s tourism economy, and support 158,000 local jobs and $18.3 billion in economic impact, a polluting spill could devastate the local economy and irreparably harm our delicate ecosystem.”

Peters continued, “Just a few weeks ago, on the California coast north of Santa Barbara, a pipeline ruptured underneath a coastal cliff, spilling 105,000 gallons of crude oil onto the beach and tidelands, and into the Pacific Ocean. Despite rapid cleanup efforts from environmental officials and volunteers from across the state, the leak killed abundant marine life including lobsters, seals, kelp bass, and local fish populations. Local communities and businesses should not be burdened by that cost through no fault of their own.”

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Click the image above to watch Rep. Peters’ speech or click HERE.

Congressman Peters’ amendment would have three requirements of polluters following a spill:

  • First, it directs the relevant Regional Fishery Management Council to conduct a full environmental assessment of the spill.
  • Second, it requires the responsible party to pay for any pollution cleanup and restoration of harmed fishers, and to provide compensation for economic and job losses due to the spill.
  • Third, it protects public safety and food quality by requiring that polluters pay for testing of toxins in fish and in local waters to help fishermen determine the safest areas for fishing.

Peters’ amendment to the bill was not approved and he opposed final passage of H.R. 1335, the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibilities Management Act.” The bill would cut previously enacted bipartisan conservation measures and would replace proven fishery management processes with weaker alternatives that undermine transparency and accountability.