Oil Safety and Accountability Act to Protect Washington Introduced by Rep. Farrell and Sen. Carlyle
For Immediate Release: January 24, 2017
Contact: Rebecca Ponzio, firstname.lastname@example.org, 206.240.0493
Olympia, WA – Facing substantial increases in oil shipments across the state, Representative Jessyn Farrell and Senator Reuven Carlyle are introducing the Oil Transportation Safety and Accountability Act. In response to continued concerns about oil transportation, House bill 1611 and the accompanying Senate bill (bill number pending) create reliable funding for oil spill prevention and safety, industry accountability, new protections for Puget Sound, including crude oil export, and public review of new or expanded oil pipelines. This bill works alongside the legislation requested by the Department of Ecology (HB 1210/SB5425) which focuses on an increase in the barrel tax.
“The transport of oil through Washington by rail, pipeline, barge and tanker continues to threaten our safety, the health of our land and waters, and local economies across the state,” said Representative Jessyn Farrell. “We’ve seen the devastating effects that even one major spill can have and communities across our state are calling for our legislature to take action and build on the legislation passed in 2015.”
“As the Trump Administration and GOP Congress hand the keys to the oil, gas and coal industries, it’s more important than ever that our state legislature protect the Puget Sound region through responsible, modernized oil spill prevention and safety measures. This is a modest, appropriate step and we ask the industry to join us in moving forward,” said Carlyle.
The urgency is now greater with the approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline that would increase tanker traffic by 700% through the Salish Sea, a $4 million funding shortfall for existing protections, more and more oil moving through pipelines, and the threat of more export terminals that make Washington a target for more dangerous oil shipments.
This Act will address:
Funding and Financial Responsibility
- Update the barrel tax to provide reliable funding for oil spill prevention and oil transportation safety.
- Ensure that corporations moving oil through WA have insurance or money to pay for recovering after an oil spill or accident.
- Direct the state to adopt rules to protect Puget Sound from increased threat of barge traffic and risk of new tanker traffic carrying tar sands.
- Improve transparency and decision making if an existing facility changes from importing crude oil to exporting oil.
- Ensure a fair review and public input on projects to build a new pipeline or expand capacity of an existing pipeline.
In May 2015, Governor Inslee signed Transportation Safety Act, sponsored by Representative Farrell and Senator Rolfes, which improved oil by rail safety and required the Department of Ecology to report on oil by rail in Washington — the first report was released last week.
About the Coalition
The Environmental Priorities Coalition is a network of over 20 leading environmental groups in Washington state that influence policy at the state level. For over a decade, the Coalition has selected joint priority issues to work on during legislative session to help focus environmental community resources and best achieve shared goals.
American Rivers | Audubon Washington | Cascade Bicycle Club |Climate Solutions | Conservation Northwest | Defenders of Wildlife | Earth Ministry | Environment Washington | Fuse | Futurewise | Heart of America Northwest | The Lands Council | League of Women Voters of Washington | NW Energy Coalition | Sierra Club Cascade Chapter | Sound Action | Surfrider Foundation |The Nature Conservancy | Toxic-Free Future | Washington Conservation Voters | Washington Environmental Council | Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition | Zero Waste Washington