Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
November 14, 2007  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Statement at Briefing on the San Francisco Bay Oil Spill  

I want to thank the Commerce Committee and Senator Cantwell for working with us to arrange this Members’ briefing on the oil spill that occurred last Wednesday in San Francisco Bay.

As most of you know, the container ship Cosco Busan hit the Bay Bridge on the morning of November 7, spilling some 53,000 to 58,000 gallons of toxic bunker fuel into San Francisco Bay.

For all of us who love the Bay, this oil spill has been nothing short of heartbreaking.

San Francisco Bay is one of the most spectacular places not only in the country, but in the world. San Francisco Bay boasts extraordinary natural beauty, biological diversity and economic productivity.

But right now, oil is washing up on coastlines throughout the Bay Area. Oil slicks have been spotted throughout the bay, such as this one surrounding Alcatraz.

The spill has spread to the Gulf of Farallones and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuaries.

As of yesterday evening, over 1,300 birds have been found coated in oil and treated, but as many as 800 have perished due to oil from the accident.

In addition, over two dozen beaches in the area remain closed at this time and yesterday Governor Schwarzenegger had to suspend all fishing and crabbing in areas affected by the oil spill, a move that will delay the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season.

My goal for today’s briefing is to hear from the top officials at the Federal agencies most involved in the response, investigation and clean up of this terrible accident.

I know it is still early in the process, but I hope we can today explore what went wrong, what went right, what else we need to do immediately, if we need additional resources, and what long term lessons can be learned from this experience.

To that end, we are today joined by:

Admiral Thad Allen, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard; Rear Admiral Brian Salerno, Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship, U.S. Coast Guard;
Scott Rayder, Chief of Staff, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Joseph Osterman, Managing Director, National Transportation Safety Board; and Deb Self,
Executive Director, Baykeeper, San Francisco – who flew overnight to be here to give us a firsthand account of some of the cleanup efforts she has witnessed.

I want to thank you all for being here today.