Department of Ecology News Release - November 9, 2016

The Nooksack River starts in the Cascade Mountains near Mount Baker, then travels 80 miles through Whatcom County into Bellingham Bay.
The Nooksack River starts in the Cascade Mountains near Mount Baker, then travels 80 miles through Whatcom County into Bellingham Bay.

Preparing for oil spills on the Nooksack River
Public comment sought on new Ecology plan

FERNDALE – In an effort to protect public health and the environment, the Washington Department of Ecology recently completed a draft contingency plan, outlining how responders would tackle an oil spill near the Nooksack River. The plan is available for public review and comment now through December 12, 2016.

The Nooksack River starts in the Cascade Mountains near Mount Baker, then travels 80 miles through Whatcom County into Bellingham Bay. The draft plan includes 39 strategies meant to reduce damage to sensitive natural, cultural and economic resources during an oil spill.

The plan considers risks from oil trains, oil pipelines and tanker trucks. The Trans Mountain pipeline includes a 19-mile stretch that crosses the Nooksack River and several tributaries; the Olympic Pipeline has an 8-mile stretch with a river crossing, and oil trains travel across the river in Ferndale.

The Nooksack River plan is one of many geographic response plans currently under development as directed in the 2015 Oil Transportation Safety Act.

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

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

Contacts:

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

Wendy Buffett, preparedness planner, 360-407-6523