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Spills Program

Oil transportation safety act

Oil Transportation Safety Act

image of Ecology's Oil Transportation Safety Act focus sheet front pageOur four-page focus sheet on the Oil Transportation Safety Act describes Ecology's implementation of the Act to protect Washington's citizens and resources.

April 2015, Gov. Inslee signed the Oil Transportation Safety Act, enacting ESHB 1449 to help protect Washington state from the risks associated with transporting oil.

ESHB 1449 provided a step forward to help protect the environment and Washingtonians from new oil spill risks. The bill specifically directed Ecology to undertake five policy initiatives to help address these new risks:

  • Advance notice of oil movement
  • Railroad contingency planning
  • Geographic response plans
  • Vessel traffic safety evaluation and assessment
  • Equipment cache grants

In addition, the legislature, through the state operating budget, provided the resources to perform an update to the Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Risk Assessment. As new resources and staff are brought into place by the program, additional planning details will be developed for each policy initiative.


Advance notice of crude oil movement by rail and biannual crude oil reporting from pipelines

Facilities receiving crude oil via railroads will be required to submit advance notice information for all scheduled crude-by-rail transfers. Pipelines will be required to provide biannual reports describing crude oil transported through transmission lines in the state. Ecology will publish a report each quarter containing aggregated crude oil movement information submitted by facilities and pipelines.

Learn more about advance notice of oil transfer

Tracking oil movement timeline 


Oil Spill Contingency Planning

Contingency planning and drill requirements now extend beyond vessels, pipelines and facilities to railroads transporting bulk oil as cargo. Railroads now need to demonstrate to the state that they can immediately respond to a spill or risk of a spill.

Learn more about contingency planning

oil spill contingency planning timeline


Geographic Response Plans

Ecology provided the Legislature a review of all state Geographic Response Plans (GRPs), and any federal requirements as needed in contingency plans on Dec. 31, 2015. This is being followed by biennial updates each December, 2017 through 2021. The reports will detail progress made toward plan completion. Ecology will contract with third parties as practicable, to ensure completion of 50 percent of targeted GRPs by Dec. 1, 2017.

Learn more about geographic response plans

Geographic response plans timeline


Equipment Cache Grants

Many communities do not have basic response resources for responding to oil spills and hazardous materials incidents. Resources include oil boom, absorbents, responder and community air monitoring equipment, firefighting foam, and personal protective equipment. To help solve this problem, Ecology is providing grants to emergency first responders for oil spill and hazardous materials response and firefighting equipment.

Learn more about equipment cache grants

Equipment cache grants timeline


Risk Assessment

Vessel Traffic Safety Evaluation and Assessment for the Columbia River (CRVTSA)

Ecology is developing an evaluation and assessment of vessel traffic management and vessel traffic safety within and near the mouth of the Columbia River. This includes an analysis of the amount of new oil being transferred onto vessels as a result of rail traffic.

Risk assessment timeline

Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Risk Assessment Update

Ecology is updating the 2010 Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Risk (2010 VTRA) final report to emphasize recent changes and impacts to vessel traffic from all modes of oil transportation through the Puget Sound region.

Learn more about risk assessment

Puget Sound vessel traffic risk assessment update