Schwarzenegger denies Perata's oil spill allegations
By Jeff Shuttleworth
November 13, 2007
A spokesman for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today strongly rejected
state Senate President pro Tem Don Perata's allegation
that inaction by Schwarzenegger contributed to problems associated
with last week's oil spill.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday at the Middle Harbor
Shoreline Park, which is located near Oakland's waterfront, Perata,
D-Oakland, charged that California is poorly prepared to deal
with oil spills because Schwarzenegger hasn't made appointments
to regional water board or fully funded and staffed the state's
oil spill prevention program.
Perata said Schwarzenegger didn't follow a recommendation by
his Department of Finance in 2005 that the oil spill program have
its funding and staffing boosted because it's "drastically
Perata also said last month Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill he authored
that would have strengthened the state's nine regional water boards
and made California's frontline enforcers of water laws more effective
and more accountable to the public.
Perata said nearly half of the seats on the state's regional
water quality board are empty because Schwarzenegger hasn't filled
But Aaron McLear, a spokesman for the governor, said even if
Schwarzenegger had signed Perata's bill the legislation wouldn't
have taken effect until Jan. 1, so it wouldn't have had any impact
on the 58,000-gallon spill by the cargo ship Cosco Busan after
it struck the Bay Bridge.
McLear admitted there are some vacancies on the regional water
quality boards but said "it's very common for boards to have
vacancies" and one reason the process for filling vacancies
is slow is that Schwarzenegger needs to find experts who are qualified
to fill the positions.
Perata charged that the San Francisco Regional Water Quality
Board, which meets in Oakland, doesn't currently have enough members
for a quorum and thus can't even meet to decide how to take action
on last week's oil spill.
But McLear said Perata's claim is untrue and said the local board
does in fact have enough members for a quorum and can hold meetings
McLear said, "Senator Perata's accusations are misguided.
If he could indicate how the state could have responded to the
oil spill better we'd like to hear that."
McLear said Perata in his news conference yesterday "didn't
point to any lack of response" by the state to the spill.
Asked if he thought Perata was playing politics with the oil
spill, McLear said, "I don't want to speculate on the senator's
McLear said Schwarzenegger has added $7.3 million in funding
and 9.2 positions to the state's oil spill prevention program
since he took office in 2003.
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