The 2018 Strengthening Oil Spill Transportation Act requires the Department of Ecology to consult with the Puget Sound Partnership and the Washington Board of Pilotage Commissioners to develop a report based on current, existing risk assessments and other available studies about vessel traffic and safety within the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound area.

Department of Ecology to consult with the Puget Sound Partnership and the Washington Board of Pilotage Commissioners to develop a report based on current, existing risk assessments and other available studies about vessel traffic and safety within the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound area.

The focus area includes the San Juan archipelago and connected waterways, Haro Strait, Boundary Pass, and the waters south of Admiralty Inlet. Through the process of developing the report, there must be consultation with stakeholders.

The report will build upon the 2014 Marine & Oil Transportation Study, the 2015 Puget Sound Vessel Traffic Study Update, the 2016 Salish Sea Workshop, and the 2017 Columbia River Vessel Traffic Evaluation and Safety Assessment. 

More than 20 billion gallons of oil moves through Washington each year by vessel, pipeline, road, and rail, and much of it travels through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound to and from Washington refineries. 

HAVE YOUR SAY

Click here to submit a comment on the report. 

WHY IT MATTERS 

We’re keeping a close eye on vessel transportation safety because the number of vessels transporting oil through our shared waters is changing and potentially increasing the risk for oil spills. 

The report will include assessment and evaluation of: 

• Worldwide incident and spill data for articulated tug barges (ATBs) and other towed waterborne vessels. 

  • Transport of bitumen and diluted bitumen.
  • Emerging trends in vessel traffic.
  • Tug escorts for oil tankers, ATBs, and other towed waterborne vessels, including requirements in California and Alaska.
  • Requirements for tug escorts, including manning and pilotage needs.
  • An emergency response system for Haro Strait, Boundary Pass,and Rosario Strait.
  • The differences between locations and navigational requirements for vessels transporting petroleum.
  • The economic impact of tug escort proposals and limitations on vessel size
  • Situations where oils may submerge or sink.

How Tribes, First Nations, and stakeholders (that’s YOU) can participate 

We will collect a preliminary list of current and existing studies and reports that will inform the report. We will then ask Tribes, First Nations, and stakeholders to review the list and provide suggestions on other current and existing information we should include. 

Current and existing information is defined as: 

• Developed preferably no earlier than 2005. 

• From sources that are relevant and widely acknowledged as credible and reliable in their respective field. 

Examples of such information include but are not limited to: • Peer reviewed studies. 

  • Published government studies.
  • Laws and regulations.

• Reports that are commonly cited or used by academia and high level decision makers. 

The Act gives us an aggressive timeline. The preliminary report is due on December 1, 2018, and a final report is due by June 30, 2019. Our goal is for the draft report to be reliable information for the Legislature to take action in the coming session and may serve as the final report. 

Timeline 

Date  Action 
May 16  Ecology holds online webinar for Tribes, First Nations, and stakeholders about the project. 
May 25  Deadline for Tribes, First Nations, and stakeholders to submit current and existing reports and studies. 
Mid-late August  Tribes, First Nations, and stakeholders review and provide input on draft report, draft recommendations, and economic analysis. 
December 1  Preliminary report due to Legislature. 
June 30, 2019  Final report due to Legislature. 

What else Tribes, First Nations, and stakeholders need to know 

• Ecology will use e-comments – a website form – to collect submissions for current and existing reports and studies. 

• Ecology will include all submitted studies and reports in an appendix, even if they are not included in the study. 

Send your comments to:

Rob Dengel
Report Project Manager 360-407-6905robert.dengel@ecy.wa.gov


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