New oil spill response plans from the Washington Department of Ecology will address the increasing chance of oil spills along train routes including one in Grays Harbor.
Five of the 11 plans are in western Washington and will address potential spills from pipelines and railroads.
The new “geographic response plans” take the guesswork out of the response during the first 12 hours of the spill.
They signal where to place oil containment equipment and which agencies and governments to notify.
They identify specific actions that can be taken locally to protect bird and fish habitat, wetlands, water intakes, fishing areas, fish hatcheries, boating areas and public parks and beaches, and cultural resources like petroglyphs, ancient tools and fish weirs.
One of the plans covers 312 square miles in Grays Harbor, Lewis and Thurston counties.
The expansion of the plans in the state is a result of the 2015 Oil Transportation Safety Act, and highlights the state’s efforts to protect people and the environment from new oil spill risks.
The 11 new plans and their coverage areas:
- Lower Yakima River – 676 square miles in Benton, Kittitas, and Yakima counties
- Palouse – 253 square miles within Adams, Franklin and Whitman counties
- Puyallup-White Rivers – 207 square miles in Pierce and King counties
- Stillaguamish – 89 square miles in Snohomish County
- Upper Columbia River – 207 square miles in Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Kittitas counties
- Upper Green River – 120 square miles in King County
- Upper Yakima River – 439 square miles in Kittitas and Yakima counties
- Warden Washington – 131 square miles in Grant County
- Washington Deschutes – 312 square miles in Grays Harbor, Lewis and Thurston counties
- Wenatchee – 332 square miles in Chelan County.
Ecology is accepting comments on the plans until 5 p.m., June 15.
Find out more at http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/spills/about_us/PublicComment.html