New response plans help communities prepare for oil spills

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:

Ecology is accepting comments on the plans until 5 p.m., June 15.

Find out more at



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