San Diego Coastkeeper Co-Sponsors Legislation to Phase Out Copper Hull Paint



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“Ms. Solmer goes to Sacramento.”  Ok, it isn’t as catchy as the 1939 Frank Capra classic movie “Mr. Smith goes to Washington,” and it doesn’t star Jimmy Stewart. But Coastkeeper is sending me to the capitol next week to testify at a Senate Environmental Quality Committee, and in a way, you’re all coming with me.

It’s so inspiring for me to go and represent your voice in Sacramento. At Coastkeeper, we’ve worked with stakeholders for almost 10 years to address copper exceedances in our bays.  About five years ago, Shelter Island Yacht Basin was listed under the Clean Water Act as exceeding objectives for copper.  That triggered a restoration plan (called a Total Maximum Daily Load, or TMDL) to reduce the amount of copper going into the marina basin.  But copper isn’t just a problem in Shelter Island, or the rest of San Diego Bay–copper causes marine life problems all over the state.  So for years we’ve pushed for a statewide fix.  And this year, Senator Christine Kehoe responded.  She authored a bill, SB 623, which calls for a phase out of copper hull paint from recreational vessels.

We’re honored to co-sponsor Senator Kehoe’s bill and help educate our decision makers about the copper pollution in our marinas.  We know from years of experience that preventing the pollution before it gets to the boats, and before it gets into the water, is cheaper and more effective than waiting.

Clearly, our members and supporters understand this concept.  Last week we put out the call for letters of support for SB 623, and just like in the movie, you answered our call, and they’ve been pouring in – nearly 200 and counting.

So I’ll be thinking of all you when I speak to our state’s leaders next week.  And just like in the movie, I know we’ll get our happy ending.