To follow on our last post regarding the Oil Transportation Safety Act (OTSA), yesterday was the introduction of House Bill (HB) 2347 to the House Committee on the Environment.

Surfrider prepared and presented our comments, mainly focusing on the risks of oil transport to our local communities with a specific focus on the recreational use economy, which is valued at 2.4 billion in OR (we will learn more about our WA rec economy during the MSP process, but we believe the total may be close to that of OR).

If you would like to see the entire Committee hearing video, including Surfrider’s comments (at the 155 minute mark), please tune into TVW:

Additional resources regarding OTSA and the House Committee on Environment

HB 2347 

House Committee on Environment

OTSA Overview

– One pager on OTSA

Oil Transportation Spill Act (OTSA) – HB 2347

Surfrider Foundation Comments

To: Members of the Washington State House Committee on Environment
From: Joel Carben, Washington Policy Manager, Surfrider Foundation
Date: January 22, 2014

Dear Members of the Washington State House Committee on Environment;

On behalf of our members and constituents, thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Oil Transportation Spill Act (OTSA) – HB 2347. The Surfrider Foundation is non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network.

In Washington State, we have 6 active chapters representing the Pacific Outer Coast and Puget Sound, each of which engage with the general public and our local schools to support citizen science and education throughout the region.

As representatives for the recreational user community and coastal communities in general, we strongly support HB 2347.

The recreation-based economy in Washington is robust and we believe steadily growing. We currently represent a range of non-consumptive and consumptive users including surfers, recreational fishing and shell-fishing uses, boaters, kayakers, divers, beachcombers, storm-chasers, and photographers, to name a few.

While specific data as to the total value of coastal recreational uses in Washington is currently under development through our Marine Spatial Planning process, we do know that a recently completed study in Oregon found 27 million visits to the coast in 2010 and estimated the total value of the economy at $2.4 billion per year.

Non-consumptive Ocean Recreation in Oregon: Economic Impacts

We believe that our coastal recreational economy will be close to $2.4 billion, and this represents a highly significant revenue stream for our coastal communities. One that will be at risk without adequate protections and systems for the crude oil sector. In particular Surfrider would like to support the need for additional tugs located at Grays Harbor and the Columbia River.

In the opinion of our constituents and members, the transportation of crude oil by rail and marine vessels creates large risk to recreational users, the economy that it supports, and the communities that depend on this revenue stream for their livelihood, and we strongly support HB 2347.