Department of Ecology News Release - September 19, 2012
OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) will host three public hearings across the state next week to gather formal public comment on two proposed rules designed to enhance protection of the state's environment, economy and cultural resources from the impacts of oil spills.
To comply with a 2011 law, Ecology is seeking to update the state oil spill contingency plan rule, which sets requirements for spill readiness planning before spills occur.
Oil tankers, large commercial vessels, oil refineries and many oil-handling facilities must have oil spill contingency plans to operate in Washington. Ecology reviews, approves and continuously tests these plans, which outline how each company will respond to an oil spill to minimize its impacts.
Ecology's proposed rule update will require oil companies operating in Washington waters - including Puget Sound and the Columbia River - to invest in oil spill response equipment and train personnel to enhance response capability at night and during fog, rain and other inclement weather.
Under another draft rule, Ecology is seeking to change the mathematical formulas used to calculate the dollar value for oil spill-related damage from oil spills greater than 1,000
The previous value was from between $1 to $100 per gallon of oil spilled. But under the new law, the value for larger spills was revised to between $3 and $300 per gallon spilled. Compensation for natural resource damage is separate from penalties for oil spills and reimbursing the state for its response and cleanup costs. Monetary damages are deposited into a special state account to pay for habitat restoration and enhancement activities in areas affected by spills.
Each public hearing will include a presentation, a question-and-answer period and time for formal public comments:
For the Sept. 25 location in Marysville only, Ecology is offering the presentations, question-and-answer sessions and formal public hearings through webinar. Webinar is an online meeting forum people can attend from any computer using Internet access.
Ecology will accept formal comments at the Marysville location through the webinar audio portion. Participants should call 1-800-704-9804 and use code 88955236#. See webinar information and instructions.
The public comment period for both proposed rules is open until Oct. 4, 2012.
Written comments and questions regarding the proposed rules can be submitted to Department of Ecology, P.O. Box 47600, Olympia, WA 98504-7600; sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or faxed to 360-407-7288.
For specific comments or questions about the draft oil spill contingency plan rule, contact Sonja Larson at email@example.com or 360-407-6682. Comments and questions regarding the proposed natural resource damage assessment rule can be directed to Rebecca Post at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-407-7114.
Media contact: Curt Hart, 360-407-6990; cell, 360-480-7908 (email@example.com)
For more information:
Related media release (www.ecy.wa.gov/news/2012/267.html)
Proposed oil spill contingency plan rule (www.ecy.wa.gov/laws-rules/wac173182/1106.html)
Proposed natural resource damage assessment rule (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/rules/1105.html)
Ecology Spills Program (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/spills.html)
Ecology's social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)
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