Department of Ecology News Release - May 22, 2015

Preparing for oil spills in Clark, Cowlitz, and Lewis counties
Public comment sought on new Ecology plan

LONGVIEW – To keep up with the significant increase in the amount of oil transported through the inland areas of Washington, state planners recently completed a draft contingency plan outlining how responders would protect public safety and the environment if an oil spill occurs along the Interstate 5 corridor in Clark, Cowlitz, and southwestern Lewis counties.

The plan, developed by the Washington Department of Ecology, is available for public review and comment now through June 18, 2015.

The Clark-Cowlitz geographic response plan (GRP) spans three counties and includes:

The cities of Castle Rock, Kalama, Kelso, Longview, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Winlock, and Woodland fall within the boundaries of the plan. The draft plan includes a number of strategies designed to keep oil away from sensitive resources or collect oil off of the water before those sites are impacted.

The primary purpose of the plan is to reduce the chance of injury to natural, cultural and economic resources after an oil spill occurs in the area.

"Oil trains, the Olympic Pipeline, and Interstate-5 generally run north/south through much of the area, crossing many rivers, creeks, and streams," said Kathy Taylor, acting program manager for Ecology's Spill Prevention, Preparedness and Response program. "This presents a substantial oil spill risk that we must be ready for."

The Clark-Cowlitz 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.

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

Contacts:

Lisa Copeland, communications manager, 360-407-6990, @ecologyWA
Harry Chichester, geographic response plan lead, 360-407-7202