governor signs 2 bills protecting the Pacific Ocean

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Posted by on September 24, 2004 at 15:24:42:

The governor signed into law two bills aimed at protecting the Pacific Ocean.

Senate Bill 1319, by state Sen. John Burton, D-San Francisco, seeks to improve ocean preservation by shifting management from individual species to marine ecosystems. It creates a Cabinet-level Ocean Protection Council to coordinate state policy. The legislation also creates a trust fund for ocean projects, with an initial $10 million from the state's tidelands oil revenue.

Senate Bill 1459, by state Sen. Dede Alpert, D-San Diego, bans bottom trawling, a fishing method in which heavy nets are dragged on the ocean floor in certain areas. The nets, according to Alpert, disturb the ocean floor and pick up many kinds of marine life that aren't targeted.

"We have the technology and ingenuity to fish responsibly and SB 1459 sets us firmly on the right track for California's oceans," she said in a written statement.

Actor Ted Danson, a member of an environmental group called Oceana, also praised the new law. "Our oceans will be healthier as a result," he said.

Schwarzenegger also signed two bills prohibiting cruise ships from dumping wastewater and burning garbage within three miles of the California coast. Assembly Bills 2093 and 471, sponsored by the Bluewater Network, are the first laws in the nation to ban such practices, according to the group.

Teri Shore of Bluewater Network, a San Francisco-based group, said the laws are needed because cruise-ship calls to California jumped by 50 percent in the past two years. The organization has urged the governor to sign a third bill on his desk that bars the dumping of sewage in coastal waters.

The Sierra Club's Magavern said the bills Schwarzenegger signed yesterday didn't have as much opposition from businesses as some bills still pending.

As a result, they didn't create as many political problems for the governor, who has called himself a friend of both the environment and business.

One pending bill, strongly opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce, would limit air pollution from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Another bill would require those responsible for misapplied pesticides to pay the medical bills of people harmed.

"He's gotten a good start on fulfilling his campaign promises," Magavern said. "Now we're hoping he signs the other important bills."

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