Spills photo identifier

Spills Program

2014 Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study

The Governor’s 2014 budget provided one-time funding for Ecology to conduct a Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study. The objective of the study is to analyze the risks to public health and safety, and the environmental impacts associated with the transport of oil in Washington state.

The study will inform the Spills Program, Governor and the Legislature by focusing on the movement of oil in marine and inland areas, by vessel, and rail. The study will compile existing information and determine if there are information gaps in the existing oil transportation system. If gaps exist, the study will identify ways to address the risk and make public health/safety and environmental protection recommendations for appropriate federal, state, local agencies, or the private sector/industry to take appropriate remedial action.

Scope of Study

Puget Sound, Grays Harbor, and the Columbia River will be included in the marine portion of the study. The inland portion of the study will include the entire oil transportation corridor. The study looks at:

  • the current and anticipated transportation pictures for marine and rail.
  • the current and anticipated safety pictures for marine and rail.
  • any existing gaps.

Based on these findings, the study will inform recommendations for public health, safety and environmental concerns; statement of safety benefits vs. the cost of implementation; recommendation for funding programs; and a risk communication strategy.

Draft Study Results

The Draft 2014 Marine & Rail Oil Transportation Study is available.

Looking for a summary version of the Draft 2014 Marine & Rail Oil Transportation Study? Here's the focus sheet.

The 2014 Marine and Rail Oil Transportation Study Preliminary Findings and Recommendations Report is available.

Looking for a summary version of the preliminary findings and recommendations? Here's the Focus Sheet.


Along with Ecology, the study will include stakeholders in the development of the recommendations, including, but not limited to: Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission; Emergency Management Division; tribes; other federal, state, and local agencies; informal and formal public and private committees; organizations; industry; and the public at large focused on the environment, waterway, marine transportation System, and rail and railway concerns.

The contract is for a facilitator who will work closely with our internal technical team to write the report and facilitate meetings with a diverse group of stakeholders.


  • A completed interim report is due to the Governor and Legislature by December 1, 2014.
  • A final report is due by March 1, 2015.

Click on the timeline for a larger view.


Scope of Study (pdf)

Frequently Asked Questions

Oil Transport Maps

Related Studies

Inland GRPs

Washington Oil Observer Newsletter

Study Meeting Summaries

US DOT Order on Oil Notification


Video showing a unit car oil train passing through Carkeek Park in Seattle. The train contains 100 car units and is carrying approximately 2,900,000 gallons of crude oil.


Marine and Rail Transportation Study Presentation

Changing Energy Picture Presentation


Lisa Copeland
Communications Manager
(360) 407-6990

Scott Ferguson
Prevention Section Manager
(360) 407-7465

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