Ecology Proposes Spill Prevention and Response Readiness Rules

Wednesday, June 14, 2006
The Department of Ecology (Ecology) is seeking public comment on a set of three proposed rules designed to prevent oil spills into Washington waters and to improve response readiness. Ecology is proposing to update state rules regarding how oil will be transferred over water involving tank vessels, cargo and passenger ships, oil storage facilities, marinas and, for the first time, tank trucks and rail cars. The proposed rules establish spill prevention and response standards for facility and vessel operators who transfer oil to or from vessels. The draft rules would require operators to follow safe oil transfer practices to prevent spills. Under the proposal, some vessels and oil-handling facilities would be required to deploy oil-spill containment boom prior to transferring oil. In addition, the new rules would expand Ecology's current oil transfer inspection program, adding more field inspectors to oversee fueling activities. The department is also proposing to update the state oil spill contingency plan rule that requires tank vessels, cargo and passenger ships, oil storage facilities, and pipeline companies to demonstrate that they can mount an effective, timely response if they spill oil. The proposed rule focuses on early spill response actions, staging response equipment throughout the state, and conducting scheduled and unannounced spill readiness drills.

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