With the ever changing landscape and seascape for moving crude oil around and throughout our region, the Washington State Legislature is considering legislation to better protect our waterways from the threat of a catastrophic spill. Along with our partners in the Environmental Priorities Coalition, we are making this a top priority for 2017. 

Oil transportation safety risks continue to threaten the safety of our communities, the health of our environment, and local economies. The urgency is now greater with the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline that would increase tanker traffic by 700% through the Salish Sea, a $4 million funding shortfall for existing protections, more and more oil moving through pipelines, and the threat of more export terminals that make Washington a target for more dangerous oil shipments. To guard against these risks, state leaders can pass legislation to protect iconic waters like Puget Sound, ensure sustainable funding for oil spill prevention and response, and address risks posed by pipelines. Download a 1 pager on the oil transportation safety priority.

HB 1611 & SB 5462 have been introduced and received hearings in their chambers of origin. This legislation will:

– Ensure the oil industry pays in the case of a spill or other disaster
– Update the funding for prevention, preparedness, and response
– Protect Puget Sound by preventing oil spills and accidents from oil barges and other vessels
– Daylight when refineries try to turn into transshipment terminals
– Strengthen oversight and public input into pipeline construction

Participate in the Action Alert today to contact your legislators and let them know that you support these important policies to better protect our home waters!

Is Washington ready for the next bill oil spill? That was the focus of a recent article in Crosscut highlighting why the Department of Ecology’s Oil Spill Prevention, Response, and Cleanup program is so important, and why the Washington Legislature must pass this bill to address funding gaps and vulnerabilities.

“Even a spill of half a million gallons in Puget Sound would be devastating, Nalder said, and while we’ve come a long way since 1985, that’s still within the realm of possibility. It would decimate local wildlife and, while cleanup efforts took place, shut down commerce and tourism. “The nature of Puget Sound will change for months and months in a horrendous way,” Nalder said. “Very few people living in this region really understand what that would look like.”