Department of Ecology News Release - June 15, 2016

International Task Force focuses on protecting West Coast from oil spills
Public welcome at annual June 21 meeting in Seattle

SEATTLE – Representatives from states and provinces on the Pacific Ocean will gather this year in Seattle to discuss how best to protect the West Coast from oil spills.

The Washington Department of Ecology is hosting this year's annual meeting. The Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force is comprised of British Columbia, along with the states of Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii.

The states will update one another on spill-response programs and initiatives. The Task Force will also provide an update on projects underway. A facilitated session will address policy and emerging technology aspects of best achievable protection, with invited panelists from federal, state and industry organizations.

“The oil-train derailment in Mosier, Oregon earlier this month is a reminder of how vulnerable our region is to spills,” said Dale Jensen, Ecology’s Spills program manager. “It’s more important than ever that we come together to share knowledge and improve coordination so we can keep our region protected from future oil spills.”

The June 21 meeting occurs 8 a.m. to noon, in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Central Public Library, 1000 Fourth Ave. The meeting is open to the public and is free of charge. Registration is online.

The Task Force was authorized by a Memorandum of Cooperation signed in 1989 by the governors of Alaska, Oregon, Washington and California, and the premier of British Columbia. The agreement came following the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska and Nestucca oil spill in Grays Harbor. Task Force meetings highlight common concerns regarding oil-spill risks shared by West Coast states and provinces, and the need for cooperation across shared borders.

The Task Force provides a forum where members can work together to implement regional initiatives to help protect 56,600 miles of coastline, stretching from Alaska to California – including the Hawaiian Islands.

The Task Force is committed to improving, preventing, preparing for and responding to oil spills. It collects and shares data on spills, coordinates spill prevention projects, and promotes regulatory safeguards.

The Task Force members include:

More meeting information is available on the website.

Contact:

Sarah Brace, Veda Environmental, 206-409-3253, sarah@vedaenv.com

Lisa Copeland, communications, 360-407-6990, @ecologyWA