BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District), quite honestly, rocks. More specifically, Inspector Simon Winer rocks.
You’ll remember the November 4th Wall of Stink we all sucked into our eyes and lungs from the illicit crude oil transfer between Public Service Marine’s (a misnomer if there ever was one!) Jovalan barge and the Olympic Spirit barge out at Reefer Dock…
Here are the facts about that day, and the facts are outrageous.
Public Safety Marine Inc. (PSMI) was “founded in 1978 to build and operate the barge Jovalan, which transported petroleum products for public utilities in Southern California.” PSMI has been the exclusive shipper of crude oil out of VENOCO’s Ellwood, California terminal (formerly ARCO) in Santa Barbara County.
The Jovalan, a single hull barge, was state of the art in the 1980s. Not so much, however, after the 1990 Oil Pollution Act (OPA) went into effect requiring crude oil to be transferred in double-hull crafts. Yet the Jovalan continued to be given a state permit to run crude oil up from SoCal to the SF Bay Area. (In fact, its current permit does not expire until 2012.[!]) Sometime between 1990 and now, local refineries stopped accepting deliveries from single-hull crafts. Yet VENOCO continued to load crude oil onto the Jovalan, a single-hull barge whose singular activity is transporting petroleum to the SF Bay Area. Neither VENOCO, the Santa Barbara County Energy, nor any of those in the petroleum industry in the SF Bay Area thought this enough of a problem to speak up or do something about it. Huh?