August 9 – August 26 Signs of the Tide Examines San Diego’s Oil Spill Susceptibility

San Diego Coastkeeper’s free event discusses how an oil spill could impact the region

SAN DIEGO, August 6, 2010- San Diego Coastkeeper, the region’s leading environmental nonprofit protecting inland and coastal waters, will host its quarterly Signs of the Tide public forum on Thursday, August 26, from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. The event at the California Center for Sustainable Energy, located at 8690 Balboa Ave., Suite 100, includes a panel presentation followed by small group discussions examining the likelihood of an oil spill in San Diego, how it would impact the region and steps residents can take to prevent such a disaster.

“Signs of the Tide educate, engage and empower San Diegans in issues relating to the health of our inland and coastal waters,” said Coastkeeper Executive Director Bruce Reznik. “As our nation witnesses impacts from the oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, it’s important we understand the vulnerability of our own shoreline and how individual and collective choices can make a difference.”

KPBS Reporter and Producer Ed Joyce will moderate the August 26 Signs of the Tide, featuring presentations from:

•    Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response
•    Dr. Steve Weisberg Executive Director, Southern California Coastal Water Research Project; and
•    Debbie Cook, Former Mayor of Huntington Beach and Advisory Board Member of Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas – USA.

The Office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) is responsible for protecting California’s inland and coastal waters from oil spills. After the 1989 Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil and the American Trader spilled approximately 300,000 gallons of crude oil, the State of California recognized a need to properly protect the state’s natural resources and prevent future oil spills. As a result, the state created OSPR and works to ensure that prevention, preparedness, restoration and response will provide the best protection for California’s natural resources.

Debbie Cook is the former mayor of Huntington Beach, California. She has served on the boards of numerous entities, including the Southern California Association of Governments Regional Council (SCAG), the Post Carbon Institute, the Orange County Council of Governments, the Desalination Task Force and the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas – USA. She is a 40-year resident of Orange County and is deeply passionate about the environment and specifically knowledgeable about the challenges the region faces in moving away from an oil-based economy.

As executive director of Southern California’s premiere coastal research center, Dr. Weisberg has a deep knowledge of the region’s coastal ecosystems. With almost fifteen years of experience researching water quality and coastal habitats in Southern California, Dr. Weisberg will discuss some of the ways in which the coastlines are vulnerable to oil, whether from catastrophic spills or from the day-to-day inputs from our streets and cars.

Following the presentations, attendees will have an opportunity to further delve into the topic via small group discussions led by the speakers. The event is free and open to the public.

Coastkeeper’s next Signs of the Tide on Thursday, Nov. 4, will look at San Diego’s Water Supply.

For more information about Signs of the Tide, visit Coastkeeper’s website at localhost/sdcoastkeeper.

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Founded in 1995, San Diego Coastkeeper protects the region’s inland and coastal waters for the communities and wildlife that depend on them by blending education, community empowerment and advocacy. Visit us online at http://localhost/sdcoastkeeper.