Chapter 173-187 WAC

Ecology is initiating a rulemaking to create a new rule, Chapter 173-187 WAC Financial Responsibility. Additionally, the existing Chapter 317-50 WAC – Financial Responsibility for Small Tank Barges and Oil Spill Response Barges, will be incorporated into the new rule and then repealed. 

This rulemaking will implement updates to Chapter 88.40 RCW Transport of Petroleum Products – Financial Responsibility, as required under Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill (E2SHB) 1691 and will incorporate the requirements of existing Chapter 317-50 WAC, which will be repealed. The rulemaking will ensure that vessels and facility owners and operators have adequate financial resources to pay cleanup and damage costs arising from an oil spill.

The new rule will:

  • Define the entities subject to financial responsibility requirements.  
  • Establish required levels of financial responsibility for oil handling facilities and pipelines. 
  • Specify the procedures and timelines for obtaining or renewing a certificate of financial responsibility. 
  • Establish requirements for acceptable evidence of financial responsibility, including self-insurance.
  • Outline the process for ensuring timely updates to changes in financial status.
  • Define 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. 
  • Incorporate and update financial responsibility requirements currently included in Chapter WAC 317-50 – Financial Responsibility for Small Tank Barges and Oil Spill Response Barges, and repeal that chapter.
  • Make other changes to clarify language and make any corrections needed. 

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 are holding workshops for stakeholders during this phase and will post workshop presentation slides after each workshop.

Stakeholder Workshop #1 Presentation

Stakeholder Workshop #2 Presentation

Stakeholder Workshop #3 Presentation

Stakeholder Workshop #4 Presentation

Stakeholder Workshop #5 Presentation

Stakeholder Workshop #6 Presentation

Additional languages


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.