Department of Ecology News Release - April 8, 2015

Preparing for oil spills to the Duwamish/Green River
Public urged to comment on contingency plans

SEATTLE – Changes in how oil is transported through Washington state are resulting in a host of new and improved plans aimed at protecting public health, public safety and the environment.

The Washington Department of Ecology recently completed a draft contingency plan in case an oil spill occurs near the Duwamish/Green River. The plan is available for public review and comment now through May 8, 2015.

The Green River, which becomes the Duwamish River for its final 11 miles, is plentiful in natural, cultural and economic resources. The draft contingency plan covers the river from the North Wind’s Weir natural area in Tukwila to the base of the Howard Hanson Dam east of Auburn. The cities of Tukwila, Renton, Kent, Auburn, Black Diamond, Ravensdale and Palmer are included in this area.

The draft plan includes about 30 strategies meant to reduce damage to sensitive natural, cultural and economic resources during an oil spill. The plan considers risks both from trains carrying crude oil and from oil pipelines in the area.

The BNSF railroad runs parallel to the Green River east to the Cascade Mountains, and the area between Auburn and Tukwila is part of a major north-south railroad corridor. The Olympic Pipeline crosses the Green River in Tukwila and Kent, and also crosses several tributaries of the Green, such as Mill Creek and Springbrook Creek.

“This plan covers several important waterways, ones that our families kayak, fish and play in," said Kathy Taylor, acting program manager for Ecology’s Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response program. “With the rapid changes in oil transport, particularly with crude by rail, it’s important we have plans in place to protect our precious natural resources.”

The Duwamish/Green River plan is one of eight geographic response plans Ecology aims to complete before June 30, using special funding the Washington Legislature dedicated to help our state prepare for oil spills.

All comments received will be reviewed and considered before the final version of the plan is produced. Comments can be emailed to grps@ecy.wa.gov, or mailed to:

Washington Department of Ecology
Spill Prevention, Preparedness, and Response (GRD-GRP)
P.O. Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
360-407-6523

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Contacts:

Lisa Copeland, communications manager, lisa.copeland@ecy.wa.gov, 360-407-6990, @ecologyWA

Wendy Buffett, preparedness planner, wendy.buffett@ecy.wa.gov, 360-407-6523