The bill dovetails with Governor Jerry Brown's January budget
proposals calling for an additional $6.7 million for the oil
spill fund and 38 new jobs to enhance the state's ability to
prepare and respond to spills.
The fund currently only applies to marine oil spills.
"California is seeing a huge shift in the way we import oil, and
we need to address the new and unique hazards of crude-by-rail
transportation," said California Senate Democrat Fran Pavley,
the bill's author.
The Senate bill passed by a vote of 22-11. The state Assembly
will soon take up a similar measure.
"While we opposed some of the specific provisions of the bill we
recognize it is necessary to change the current prevention and
response program to reflect the increase role that rail is
playing in crude transport," said Tupper Hull, spokesman for the
Western States Petroleum Association which represents west coast
Last year, California imported four times as much crude by rail
as it did in 2011, as new drilling techniques have boosted
production in North Dakota and Montana.
Over the next few years, crude-by-rail imports into California
are projected to increase as much as 25-fold to 150 million
gallons per year, according to a state report. It would add a
fee to be collected at refineries for shipments coming in by
A string of train derailments has raised safety concerns about
moving crude oil by rail across the country, including last
month's fiery explosion of railcars in Lynchburg, Virginia,
which set a river ablaze.
(Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Richard Chang)
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