How can we prevent another catastrophic spill in the San Francisco Bay? Oil is bad enough but there are also vessels carrying chemical cargo that could potentially require the evacuation of most of the Bay Area if released in a spill.
One suggestion has been to require double hulls on cargo ships. This is a fine idea, but I don’t know if the Bay Area has the clout to bring about the retooling of the entire worldwide fleet of vessels.
Rep. George Miller (a rather sensible fellow for a politician) has said that requiring cargo ships to have escort boats, stockpiling cleanup equipment more broadly across the Bay Area or spending hundreds of millions of dollars to remove hazardous underwater rocks should also be considered.
Put me down at least in favor of the escort boat proposal. This is a really good idea, which would go far to eliminate the danger of spills in the bay. Now, I heard a representative of the shipping industry complain that this would be prohibitively expensive. Right, and the auto industry said we could never afford seat belts or shatterproof windshields either.
Think about it. These enormous vessels are carrying cargo like, for example, huge fleets of Priuses destined for dealerships all around the bay. You think there’s any money in that? They can afford a tug to guide them through the bay, for goodness sake. And this would help to provide employment for our local watermen.
The tug escort plan is one that really must be enacted. Right now. I only hope the lobbyists don’t get to Arnold before it can get done.