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Oil transportation data and studies

Every year, 20 billion gallons of oil moves through Washington by vessel, rail, and pipeline, posing significant risk of environmental damage. The risks associated with all modes of oil transportation and handling require a robust state program of prevention, preparedness, and response in order to protect our communities, environment, and economy.

Rail, vessels, and pipelines transport approximately 20 billion gallons of oil through Washington each year.

Washington cares about oil transportation safety

We have reached significant milestones since the 2005 Legislature directed us to set a zero-spills goal. Washington has one of the lowest spill rates in the nation, according to U.S. Coast Guard data, and an oil spill drill program modeled by other states.

In 2015, Governor Inslee signed the Oil Transportation Safety Act to help protect Washington from the risks associated with transporting oil. The 2018 Strengthening Oil Transportation Safety Act further bolstered Washington's spill prevention program.

Learn more about oil transportation in Washington

Oil transportation risk assessments and studies

Washington is experiencing rapid changes in the types of crude oils that are moving through the state, the methods used for oil transportation, and the locations where crude is moved. A major oil spill or fire could have severe consequences to public safety, the environment, local economies, and overall quality of life.

Our risk assessments help prepare and plan for response to oil-related incidents that could impact major waterways. By evaluating when and how oil moves through the state and the associated risks, we can make recommendations for cost-effective spill prevention measures while protecting public health and safety, the state's economy, and the environment.

Grays Harbor

Grays Harbor Vessel Traffic Risk Assessment (GHVTRA)

We received funding in the 2017-2019 biennium to conduct a vessel traffic risk assessment for Grays Harbor. This builds on our previous work for the Columbia River, Salish Sea, and the 2014 Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study. The purpose for doing this type of study is to assess:
  • Baseline and changing oil spill risks, including identifying measures that could help reduce the risks of oil spills.
  • Oil spill response preparedness, including identifying baseline response capability.
This study provides us with the opportunity to:
  • Document current baseline of oil spill prevention and preparedness in Grays Harbor.
  • Develop regionally specific recommendations for improvement.

Public participation opportunities

Questions? Contact Brian Kirk at 425-649-7292 or brian.kirk@ecy.wa.gov.

Columbia River Salish Sea 2014 study