Opposition Grows to Oil Industry Bailout Bill
Opposition is intensifying to a proposed oil/gasoline industry bailout bill in Washington State, House Bill 1175/SB 5233. Four organizations, Carbon Washington, 350 Seattle, Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Seattle Electric Vehicle Association joined Coltura in this sign-on letter asking legislators to reject the measure.
The legislation would cause the state to insure gas stations’ liabilities relating to gasoline and diesel leaks from their underground storage tanks, but without the requiring risk assessments nor modernized tanks that a prudent insurer would require. Gas station operators would have no incentive to modernize their tanks because they would be allowed to operate with old and failing tanks that contaminate groundwater and endanger public health. Further, the proposed revenue source to pay for the liabilities, a roughly $.01 a gallon tax on gasoline (half of California’s rate), would be insufficient to pay for more than 20% of the full cost of cleanup liabilities the state program would take on.
At the House Appropriations Committee hearing on the bill on February 1, representatives of the Western States Petroleum Association, the Petroleum Marketing Association, and the Pollution Liability Insurance Agency were the only ones to testify in favor. Coltura and Carbon Washington testified in opposition, as did physician (and former Coltura board member) Paul Fredlund, on the grounds of public health. Despite the opposition, the bill advanced to the House Rules Committee. Sixty-eight people signed in against the measure, and 10 signed in favor.
In the Senate Environment Committee, 50 signed in against, and 3 in favor, prior to a hearing on the bill that was canceled and has not been rescheduled.
Thanks to everyone who wrote their legislator or signed in at the hearing– it made a big difference!