Chapter 173-187 WAC

Ecology has adopted a new chapter of rule, Chapter 173-187 WAC Financial Responsibility. 

The adopted rule implements updates to Chapter 88.40 RCW Transport of Petroleum Products – Financial Responsibility, as required under Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill (E2SHB) 1691. The adopted rule ensures that vessels and facility owners and operators have adequate financial resources to pay cleanup and damage costs arising from an oil spill. Additionally, the existing Chapter 317-50 WAC - Financial Responsibility for Small Tank Barges and Oil Spill Response Barges has been incorporated into the new rule and has been repealed.

The new rule:

  • Defines the entities subject to financial responsibility requirements. 
  • Establishes required levels of financial responsibility for oil handling facilities and pipelines. 
  • Specifies the procedures and timelines for obtaining or renewing a certificate of financial responsibility. 
  • Establishes requirements for acceptable evidence of financial responsibility, including self-insurance.
  • Outlines the process for ensuring timely updates to changes in financial status.
  • Defines the processes governing the suspension, revocation, and re-issuance of certificates of financial responsibility considering potential liabilities incurred by a covered entity after an oil spill or other incident. 
  • Incorporates and updates financial responsibility requirements currently included in Chapter WAC 317-50 – Financial Responsibility for Small Tank Barges and Oil Spill Response Barges.
  • Repeals Chapter 317-50 WAC.. 

Rulemaking timeline


Announcement phase (CR-101)

Filing date:
April 17, 2023

Announcement documents

Rule development phase

April 17, 2023 – January 2024

Public input & involvement

We held 6 virtual workshops for stakeholders during this phase. Workshop presentation slides are available at the links below. 

Ecology’s meetings with stakeholders:

Date Documents
June 15, 2023 Presentation 1
July 13, 2023 Presentation 2
July 27, 2023 Presentation 3
August 25, 2023 Presentation 4
September 12, 2023 Presentation 5
October 5, 2023 Presentation 6

Rule proposal phase (CR-102)

Filing date:
Jan. 19, 2024

Rule proposal documents:

Comment period

Comment period: January 19, 2024 at 12:00 a.m. to March 8, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.

View comments recieved

We held three public hearings on this rule proposal via webinar. The hearings were held February 27, 2024 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., February 28, 2024 from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m., and February 29, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. – noon. 

The hearings began with a short presentation and question and answer session, followed by the opportunity to provide testimony.

.Public Hearing Presentation

Additional languages

Español (Spanish) 中文 (Chinese) Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese) 한국어 (Korean) русский (Russian)


To request ADA accommodation for disabilities, or printed materials in a format for the visually impaired, contact Ecology's ADA Coordinator by email at, or call 360-407-6831. People with impaired hearing may call Washington Relay Service at 711. People with speech disability may call TTY at 877-833-6341.