The Washington Department of Ecology has given its final approval of the Washington State Maritime Cooperative’s (WSMC) umbrella oil spill readiness plan that covers more than 1,600 commercial vessels that transit Puget Sound and Grays Harbor. WSMC’s oil spill readiness – or contingency – plan helps ensure that large commercial vessels can mount a rapid, aggressive and well coordinated response if they spill oil in state waters. The plan identifies the location of different response equipment such as oil containment boom, skimming and towing vessels and vacuum trucks in Puget Sound and Grays Harbor. It also identifies how the equipment will be mobilized by private response entities during a spill to minimize harm to important environmental, cultural and economic resources. Dave Haviland reports.
The Makah and the State continue to work together to implement better oil spill cleanup. The story reminds us that over 1600 vessels pass through the Straits each year. I believe that number is on the low side though, especially when you consider the Canadian traffic. That would only be 5 to 6 ships a day. Has to be more than that.
Many of us that are working with the Puget Sound Partnership’s local groups have been working for over a year with Ecology to give feedback into these rule changes. Nice to see some output for all the hard work and long meetings.
The Washington Department of Ecology has formally adopted changes to two state rules protecting against the impacts of a potential major spill. The spill contingency plan rule sets requirements for oil spill readiness planning for oil tankers and tank vessels, commercial cargo and fish-processing vessels, passenger ships, refineries, liquid fuel pipelines and large oil-handling facilities operating in Washington. Ecology adopts new rules enhancing protection from major oil spills
A good article on it appears here:
The battle for protection of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the BC Coast goes on north of the border. The BC union of Coast Guard workers came out yesterday against Canadian Government proposals to slash the vessel monitoring stations along the coast. Additionally, they are looking to ease vessel call in rules as they approach the Strait. As stated in this column in earlier entries, our government and tribes ought to be protesting loudly to the Canadians about this issue. In a few years it will be too late.
Back in the early part of the last decade, a tug passing in the middle of the night saw an oil spill south of Vashon Island. After alerting the Coast Guard and the State, the tug captain left, expecting something would be done. 12 hours later State and CG people showed up, leading to an outrageous oil spill that seemed compounded by lack of action. The Governor called for an investigation and the whole incident led to the forming of the Puget Sound Partnership.
Fast forward to today. The Deep Sea, a 140-foot fishing vessel, that the State Derelict Vessel Program knew about but did nothing of any consequence, caught fire and sank almost three weeks ago. It’s been leaking oil ever since, forcing the closure of multimillion dollar local shellfish beds, the kinds of beds that the Puget Sound Partnership and the Governor are claiming they want to protect. The boat’s set to be removed from Penn Cove on Sunday. What’s taken so long? Is the Governor going to call for some changes that can stop this kind of nonsense once and for all? Our environmental activist organizations, such as People For Puget Sound, don’t even have a mention of it on their web site as of today (Friday, June 1).
Again, everyone seems asleep at the wheel, and unable to get anything of any consequence done to avoid this kind of fiasco in the first place.
I call on the Governor to get a sense of urgency about this situation, make changes to the Derelict Vessel Program, and making legal changes to bring this kind of negligence by the State to an end. When your car breaks down on the side of the road, it is routinely towed, usually within 24 hours, though it may not be a hazard to anyone. Why can’t a derelict vessel be towed in less than a week?
Sunken Vessel Off Whidbey Island to be Removed Sunday
It’s a not well understood issue with the public, that if there were an oil spill, that most volunteers could be turned away without proper training. Getting this training now would allow you to be put to work helping when it would be most needed. Here’s your chance!
Attached is registration information for the 2012 oiled wildlife class series, to be held June 2 and June 23 at the Clallam County Fairgrounds. The classes, sponsored by the Clallam Marine Resources Committee and Surfrider, offer training to volunteers who want to be able to help wildlife in the event of an oil spill. Actual wildlife (well, domesticated wildlife – ducks, actually) will be a part of the training – nothing like hands-on experience to make it real.
8-hour Hazwoper certification is required to take these classes. Class limit is 24 people per class.
You will receive a confirmation email once you have registered. You can click on the link in the pdf file, or directly on the link below:
Please call or write with any questions. I look forward to seeing you at oiled wildlife recovery class!
As Victorians fuss about the idea of an expanded Kinder Morgan pipeline sending 350 oil tankers sliding past our front door every year, consider this: We already have 800 going the other way.
U.S. government statistics show 548 tankers entered Juan de Fuca Strait bound for Washington state ports in 2010.
Another 252 came in bound for Canada. Jack Knox unpacks the numbers.
The oily truth, strait up: 800 tankers a year http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Jack+Knox+oily+truth+strait+tankers+year/6522107/story.html
Mike, who has been a strong supporter of oil spill prevention has been named to a task force helping develop rules. He comments on the second anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill.
Mike Doherty, a Callam County commissioner, and Lovel Pratt, a San Juan County Councilmember, speak out: Reflections on the 2nd Anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill,
6/11 Seattle Times
Canadian oil boom may bring many more tankers to Northwest waters
By Craig Welch
Seattle Times environment reporter
In the icy oil fields of Alberta, gargantuan machines traverse open-pit mines to access one of the greatest oil deposits on Earth: Canada’s oil sands.
That massive store of energy has touched off political feuds in the U.S. over a proposed 1,700-mile pipeline to funnel crude oil to the Gulf of Mexico.
But fights over Canada’s oil sands could have an impact much closer to home. One company is hoping to boost oil-sands shipments to Asia through Northwest waters — plans that would quadruple tanker traffic through Vancouver, B.C., and dramatically increase the amount of oil traveling through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
State overestimated oil-pollution levels in Sound
The amount of petroleum that reaches Puget Sound in runoff and stormwater — once compared with the size of an Exxon Valdez spill every two years — appears to be dozens of times lower than initially thought, new studies show.
By Craig Welch
Seattle Times environment reporter
In September 2008, the head of the state Department of Ecology told a PBS Frontline team that so much oil washes into Puget Sound that it equals an Exxon Valdez spill every two years.
A few months later, the agency attempting to restore Puget Sound made a slightly different case. It declared that an Exxon Valdez-size spill of “toxic chemicals” poured into Puget Sound every two years.
Neither is correct, according to new calculations of polluted runoff and stormwater the state published Tuesday. In fact, the amount of petroleum that reaches the Sound appears to be dozens of times lower than former Ecology Director Jay Manning told Frontline.
The confusion over precisely how much toxic stuff gets into the Sound underscores the complexity of tracking pollution rushing across the disparate landscapes that feed this vast water body. The data underlying the state’s grasp of so-called toxic loading grew more sophisticated between 2008 and 2011.
But the inaccurate claims also reflect an eagerness within Gov. Chris Gregoire’s administration to seize on easy-to-grasp anecdotes that highlight Puget Sound’s ecological troubles.
“These studies did exactly what they should have: They refined over time our understanding of the problem,” said Manning, who’s now Gregoire’s chief of staff. “As a result, we now know that the relative contribution of petroleum to pollution in Puget Sound is lower than anticipated — by a significant margin. Do I regret my previous statement? I do. But we have to follow the science.”
Read the rest of the story at the Seattle Times web site. Support local journalism…
DATE: February 4, 2011 8:32:10 PM PST
News Release: Update – Coast Guard, DOE continue to monitor area where the Vicious Fisher sank
SEATTLE – The Coast Guard and Washington Dept. of Ecology(DOE) continue to respond to pollution concerns after the 80-foot fishing vessel, Vicious Fisher, sank in about 360 feet of water approximately 13 miles west of La Push, Wash., Thursday.
The Coast Guard safely removed all five crewmembers from the vessel by approximately 6 p.m., Thursday after final efforts to dewater the vessel failed. No injuries have been reported.
The steel hulled Vicious Fisher homeported in Bellingham, Wash., sank with approximately 3,800 gallons of diesel fuel onboard.
Coast Guard and DOE officials conducted an on-scene assessment Friday morning and determined salvage of the vessel was not possible due to the depth of water it sank in.
Friday, Coast Guard helicopter crews conducted two over flights of the area where the vessel sank and discovered a two-mile, light sheen and the life raft belonging to the Vicious Fisher in the vicinity of the area the vessel sank. The sheen is not recoverable.
The location where the Vicious Fisher went down is located in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and is near the Quileute Indian Tribe reservation.
Coast Guard and DOE will continue to monitor the area. A third helicopter over flight is scheduled for Saturday.