Caltrans offers cleanup incentive
Caltrans is offering a stipend incentive to participants in its Adopt-A-Highway program as part of the Clean Up California Initiative.
The incentive stipends will be offered up to $250 per eligible litter clean-up event per site for a maximum of twelve payouts a year.
These stipends will include $250 for cleanups on adopted highway segments. In addition, $250 will be issued following a cleanup of all sides of ramps and quads, $125 for one on/off ramp and $62.50 for a single ramp.
An incentive stipend for up to $250 will be issued for clean-ups of “Non-Traditional Adoptions” such as Park and Ride locations and bicycle paths which is under the discretion of the local AAH Coordinator.
The AAH program is administered by Caltrans. Adoptions are usually a two-mile stretch of roach and permits are issued for a five year period. Those in good standing may renew their permits indefinitely. Participation is free for all volunteers, and signs identifying your group are included at no-charge.
To learn more about about the Caltrans Adopt-A Highway Program and the Clean California Initiative visit: dot.ca.gov/programs/maintenance/adopt-a-highway or
— Katherine Zehnder
Settlement reached in oil spill case
Two cases related to the March 21, 2020 oil spill, which released 4,533 gallons of oil into the Cuyama River, were settled Monday by the Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit of the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office.
The spill occurred when the driver of an oil tanker truck was driving at an unsafe speed from Bakersfield to Santa Maria, which caused the tanker to detach and roll down an embankment into the river, according to Monday’s announcement by District Attorney Joyce Dudley.
The driver of the truck, Jesse Villasana, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of Fish and Game Code section 5650(a)(1) for unlawfully depositing oil into a state waterway. He also pleaded guilty to a violation of Vehicle Code section 22350, for driving at an unsafe speed.
Mr. Villasana was sentenced to one-year probation and 20 hours of community service at an environmental nonprofit, according to the district attorney’s office. In addition, he will pay a $515 fine to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit and CDFW also settled a civil case with Golden Valley Transfer, Inc., the crude oil transportation company that employed Mr. Villasana.
As part of the stipulated resolution in that case, GVT is permanently enjoined from violating Fish and Game Code section 5650(a)(1) and Chapter 7.4 of Division 1, Title 2 of the Government Code (the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act). In addition, when transporting crude oil in locations without reliable cellular service, GVT will be required to carry a device with the technological means to immediately report crude oil or hazardous materials releases.
The CDFW has been reimbursed by GVT for costs associated with the spill amounting to $314,320. Additionally, the GVT has agreed to pay $111,326 to CDFW to remediate natural resource damages. Furthermore, the company will pay $88,674 in civil penalties.
The district attorney’s office reported that GVT has been cooperative with the CDFW and the district attorney’s office during the investigation.
“My office is committed to protecting Santa Barbara County’s abundant natural resources,” Ms. Dudley said. “I appreciate Golden Valley Transfer’s cooperation in remediating the damage caused by this oil spill, and I hope this case serves as a reminder that all companies handling hazardous materials must act with caution to protect the public and the environment.”
— Katherine Zehnder