Our Goal: No spilled oil
The Oil Spill Task Force is an organization comprised of representatives from state and provincial environmental agencies in the Pacific coastal area. We collect and share data on oil spills, coordinate oil spill prevention projects, and promote regulatory safeguards. Our mission is to improve prevention, preparation, and response to oil spills on a state and provincial level.
Clean Pacific 2015
The Task Force is hosted the 2015 Clean Pacific, the premier West Coast event focused on oil spill prevention, preparedness and response in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 16-18. The theme was Changing Landscape: Shifts in Rail, Pipeline, and Vessel Transport. Over 700 attendees participated in the 3-day event which featured the Task Force’s Communications Workshop, on-water response vessel demonstrations, the 2015 Legacy Awards and over 150 presentations.
Current Task Force projects:
West Coast Crude Transport Tracking Project
The Task Force is tracking the changes in how crude oil is being moved throughout the West Coast states and British Columbia. A number of proposed projects in the region including pipeline expansion and rail facility projects is changing the landscape for crude transport and processing. These changes raise concerns regarding the type of crude products being transported, and the capacity of facilities and ports to handle the increase.
Also, the rapid growth in crude by rail transport has highlighted response and preparedness gaps along rail lines. To address some of these concerns, the Task Force is hosting a roundtable on November 5th 2015 entitled “The state of rail oil spill planning on the West Coast”. For more information in this event, click here.
The Task Force hosted and taught a 1-day workshop on risk communications at Clean Pacific in June 2015. The workshop focused preparing for an incident before it happens, and addressed three topics: using social media, engaging stakeholders effectively, and tools for communicating science and technical information. The presentations and course materials can be viewed and downloaded here.
What’s happening in:
Washington – In April, state lawmakers gave final approval to HB 1449 bill to increase oil train safety. The Washington Department of Ecology submitted the final version of an Oil Transportation Study to the Legislature that included key recommendations to improve public safety in light of the rapid growth of oil transportation through the state. The study was requested by the 2014 Legislature and the full report can be found here. (March 2015)
Oregon – Oregon Representative Smith Warner has sponsored a bill addressing rail transportation. House Bill 3225 would require oil spill response planning for rail, expand inland spill response capacity and increase funding for oil spill prevention and preparedness. See House Bill 3225 for details. (March 2015)
Washington D.C. — Democrats Cantwell, Murray, Baldwin, and Feinstein Introduce Oil Train Safety Legislation (March 2015). A second rail bill was introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson addressing rail safety.