Given the complexity of the issue, and how much has been happening lately, we’ve been blogging about it a fair amount in efforts to raise awareness of the impacts to our coastal resources, as well as promoting action towards stronger protections. You can read more here and here.
Marine & Rail Oil Transportation Study Finalized
- Ensure permanent funding for assessing oil transportation risks. This would keep agencies informed on the changing energy picture and its potential effect on public health and safety and environment. Additional funding is needed to support the expansion of Vessel Traffic Risk Assessment (VTRA) to Grays Harbor, the Columbia River, the outer coast, changes in Puget Sound, and the development of a Rail Traffic Risk Assessment (RTRA) model to analyze changes to the rail transportation system.
Enhance and provide for a continuous supply of oil spill response equipment and local first responder firefighting equipment. Direct Ecology to develop a grant program for firefighting equipment and working with local responders to develop rules for the administration of the program. Provide ongoing funding and staffing to administer the program, maintain existing equipment, and provide periodic training to first responders.
Modify statutory authority to extend financial responsibility requirements to rail and mobile facilities and enable Ecology to modify the regulations on financial responsibility requirements. By requiring Certificates of Financial Responsibility, Ecology can ensure that companies transporting oil through the state can pay for cleanup costs and damages from oil spills.
The Washington Pilotage Commission should undertake an analysis with the Harbor SafetyCommittees, U.S. Coast Guard, Ecology and the state of Oregon, and consider rule making on expanding requirements for escort tugs and/or other safety measures for tank vessels including articulated tug and barges.
Direct Ecology and the fire marshal’s office to analyze the need for hazardous materials response teams. This analysis should consider team composition, equipment and training, locations, funding mechanisms, and statewide coordination. Part of this analysis should include development of a startup and recurring cost estimates for such teams.
Will the Washington Legislature move forward with study recommendations that better protect our coast & communities or let the study sit on the shelf and collect dust?
Time will tell…various pieces of legislation are currently under consideration in Olympia. Last week, the House of Representatives passed HB 1449 (supported by the Environmental Priorities Coalition) and the bill now heads over to the Senate where it likely faces an uphill battle. Read More
The Senate recently passed legislation (SB 5057) focused mostly on improving rail safety aspects, but denied the inclusion of stronger protections for marine waters and financial assurance language that would’ve held oil and rail companies accountable. Read More
What can YOU do to help protect our coast & communities?
Whether it’s writing a letter to your Senator asking them to support stronger protections, showing up at a town hall meeting and speaking up, traveling down to Olympia to participate in a constituent meeting with you legislator, or joining Hands Across the Sand on May 16th, we can help you find your voice in calling for action to better protect our quality of life now, and for future generations. Contact WA Policy Manager Gus Gates for any assistance and upcoming volunteer opportunities.