Legislative work

Our Spills Program is currently conducting studies, rulemaking and engaging with partners under legislation from 2018 and 2019. This work focuses on reducing threats to Southern Resident Killer Whales and improving data analysis, safety of vessel traffic in the Salish Sea, and readiness to respond to spills of heavy oils.

Washington's Southern Resident Killer Whale population is at a 30-year low. (Photo: David Ellifrit, Center for Whale Research)

Tug escort rulemaking

We will work with the Board of Pilotage Commissioners (BPC) to adopt rules requiring tug escorts for certain oil-laden vessels in Puget Sound.

Vessel risk modeling

We will develop and maintain a vessel traffic risk model to evaluate current and potential future oil spill risk.

Salish Sea Shared Waters Forum

The goal of these meetings is to work with our Canadian partners to address common issues in the Salish Sea related to oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response.

Rail and pipeline advance notice of transfer (ANT) updates and PSI limitations

Oil transfer reporting requirements for rail and pipelines will include additional new information on the type and gravity of crude oil received.

Vessel advance notice of transfer (ANT) updates

We require transfers of oil over water to be reported to our advance notice of transfer (ANT) IT system. Legislation requires new information be added on crude oil type, gravity, and region.

Synopsis of vessel activities

We will develop a synopsis of current maritime vessel activity, navigation lanes, and anchorages in the Northern Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, including vessel transit in Canadian portions of transboundary waters.

Contingency plan updates

In January 2019, we initiated rulemaking to update oil spill contingency plan standards in order to implement requirements for oils that may submerge or sink in water

Geographic response plan (GRP) updates

We've begun to update geographic response plans (GRPs) to identify water column and subsurface resources that could be harmed by oils that submerge or sink.

Oil spill program activities and funding report

We're working on a report to the Legislature on Spills Program activities and funding.