The Washington Department of Ecology is updating the Central Puget Sound Geographic Response Plan (GRP). An important part of the update process is hearing the people that live, work, and play in the GRP area. To facilitate this, a public comment period will be open from 11/5/2020 – 12/10/2020.
Description of the Covered Area
The CPS-GRP boundary spans the marine waters near the Kingston/Edmonds ferry line to the north, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to the south, the Montlake Bridge to the east, and Dyes Inlet to the west. It includes the busy ports of Seattle and Tacoma, Navy facilities in Keyport, Bremerton, and Manchester, ten Class 1 oil terminals and refineries, as well as pipelines and railroads that move billions of gallons of oil in the area each year. In addition to aquariums, parks, marinas, and houseboats, this area is rich with natural habitats and archaeological resources. The Suquamish Tribe and the Puyallup Tribe of Indians have reservation lands within the area, and in addition to the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, manage net pens, hatcheries, and shellfish beds. Several other tribes also have treaty fishing rights in the area.
What are Geographic Response Plans?
Geographic Response Plans (GRPs) are used to guide early response actions in the event of an oil spill. Ecology develops and updates GRPs in collaboration with state, local and federal agencies and tribes. Each GRP is written for a specific area (for example a river, a lake, or section of Puget Sound), and includes tactical response strategies tailored to a particular shore or waterway at risk of injury from oil.
GRPs have two main objectives:
- Identify sensitive natural, cultural or significant economic resources at risk of injury from oil spills.
- Describe and prioritize response strategies in an effort to reduce injury to sensitive natural, cultural, and certain economic resources at risk from oil spills.
The Washington Legislature requires additional planning relating to oils that may not remain floating in the environment, termed non-floating oils (NFOs), in order to maintain Washington’s spill preparedness. This draft GRP contains updates relating to NFOs in the Non-Floating Oil Response Options and Resources at Risk sections of the GRP. Additionally, GRPs published by Ecology, including the CPS-GRP, are moving to a new web-based format. To see an example of this format, see the Grays Harbor GRP.