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2018 Strengthening Oil Transportation Safety Act

The Strengthening Oil Transportation Safety Act, E2SSB 6269, requires us to take a variety of steps to promote the safety of marine transportation and protect the Salish Sea from oil spills. The bill specifically directs our Spills Program to undertake multiple policy initiatives. Here is a list of our new mandates and how we're addressing them.

A large shipping vessel, two young children watching an oil train pass by near water, and a pipeline crossing over a river.

More than 20 billion gallons of oil is transported through Washington each year by vessel, pipeline, road and rail. Some of this is heavy oil that may sink, depending on conditions. The new law places an emphasis improving readiness to respond to heavy oil types.

Salish Sea Shared Waters Forum

Overview

We will establish a Salish Sea Shared Waters Forum to exchange information to enhance oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response measures to minimize the risk and impacts of spills in the Salish Sea. It will be a platform for open dialogue and will be a non-voting and non-decision making entity.

Details Timeline

Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Safety Report

Overview

In consultation with the Board of Pilotage Commissioners and the Puget Sound Partnership, we will complete a report and recommendations on vessel traffic and vessel traffic safety in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound.

Details Timeline

Contingency plan updates for submerging and sinking oils

Overview

To address oils that may submerge or sink in water, we will require:

Details Timeline

Geographic response plan (GRP) updates for submerging and sinking oils

Overview

We will update geographic response plans (GRPs) to address situations where oils may submerge or sink. The GRP updates would fulfill the obligation for industry to identify and address water column species and subsurface resources.

Details Timeline

Oil transfer prioritization for submerging and sinking oils

Overview

Our oil transfer inspectors will prioritize and conduct specialized reviews and inspections of oil transfer operations where oils may submerge or sink.

Details Timeline

Oil spill program activities and funding report

Overview

By July 1, 2020, we will provide a report to the Legislature about activities that will continue through the end of fiscal year 2019, including recommendations about funding sources for our oil spill program, recommendations about allocating tax funds to state agencies, and a forecast for future funding needs.

Details Timeline

Other new legislation

In addition, the Legislature through the 2018 State Supplemental Operating Budget provided the resources to conduct rulemaking regarding contingency plans for short-line railroads that transport non-fuel oils, per ESHB 1136. We are currently developing a timeline for this work.