Department of Ecology News Release - May 13, 2015

Washington and Oregon update oil spill plan
Public input sought on Lower Columbia River plan through June 8

VANCOUVER – In response to the uptick in the amount of crude oil being transported by rail through inland areas of Washington and Oregon, the western states are teaming up to update oil spill response plans for the shared waters.

The most recently updated plan developed by the Washington Department of Ecology and the Oregon Department of Environmental Equality outlines strategies for responding to oil spills near the Lower Columbia River.

Published in 2003, the Lower Columbia River plan covers the lower 145 miles of the Columbia River from its mouth at the Pacific Ocean (Astoria, OR/Ilwaco, WA), upstream to the Bonneville Dam. The updated plan is available for public review and comment now through June 8, 2015.

Most oil transported to the Pacific Northwest states by rail enters at the Washington/Idaho border near Spokane. Rail carries the oil along the Oregon and Washington shores of the Columbia River to terminals and facilities in Vancouver, Clatskanie, and Puget Sound. At Columbia River terminals, oil is transferred to tank vessels and transported out of Washington and Oregon to California.

The plan considers several sensitive and cultural resources. It also focuses on areas that preserve hundreds of species of birds and other animals:

The Lower Columbia 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 the state prepare for oil spills.

Comments on the plan can be emailed to grps@ecy.wa.gov, or mailed to:

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

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Contacts:

Harry Chichester, preparedness, 360-407-7202
Lisa Copeland, communications, 425-649-4446, @ecologyWA