Help shape state emergency plan for oil spills

The Department of Ecology will take comments on the Oil Spill Contingency Plan Tuesday in Everett.

EVERETT — Every day, oil trains traverse north and south through Snohomish County while oil barges and tankers travel up and down the coast.

The Department of Ecology is working on updating a plan for what to do if any of those vessels spill, and staff will be taking comments in Everett on Tuesday.

Draft proposals are lacking in some key protections if a spill happens, said Rein Attemann, Puget Sound campaign manager for the Washington Environmental Council.

With many miles of Puget Sound shoreline, Snohomish County has a particularly large stake in the statewide plan, he said.

“Any oil spill in Puget Sound will find its way onto the shoreline throughout the region,” he said.

Ecology’s new Oil Spill Contingency Plan will require large commercial vessels, oil-handling facilities and pipelines to have detailed mandates for appropriate equipment and trained personnel to respond to spills, according to a council news release. Oil transported by train is addressed in another plan.

A law passed in 2018 called for the update with a deadline of Dec. 31, 2019.

The plan could reduce a spill’s impact to people, the environment and the state’s economy. Every year, 20 billion gallons of oil is transported through Washington by vessel, rail and pipeline, according to the council.

“This is a key way that we can increase our protection in Washington state,” said Anna Doty, director of the Stand Up To Oil coalition.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

Give public comment

The Department of Ecology will hold a hearing at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Courtyard by Marriott in Everett at 3003 Colby Ave. There will be a presentation and Q&A session followed by the hearing.

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