OLYMPIA – The House of Representatives will debate oil transportation safety on the floor today.
Over the last few years, Washington has seen rapid growth in the amount of crude oil that is carried through our state in trains. The larger quantity and higher risks associated with Bakken crude oil are increasing Washington’s risk of a catastrophic oil spill.
The version of Senate Bill 5057 that will be discussed today represents a multi-year effort to address the safety of our communities.
“We need to take action now to protect the health and safety of our first-responders, our communities, and our natural resources,” said Rep. Jessyn Farrell, prime sponsor of House Bill 1449, the Oil Transportation Safety Act. “And the action we take needs to provide the resources and information necessary to respond to the changing landscape of oil transportation in Washington state.”
Highlights of the proposed legislation include:
- Requiring advance notice of oil being moved through our communities to ensure that local emergency responders are able to adequately respond in the case of a derailment, spill or fire.
- Increasing the barrel tax from 4 to 8 cents per 42-gallon barrel, and extending that tax to include oil transported by rail to ensure that our oil spill response program can pay for planning and safety measures and respond to the changing landscape of oil transportation.
- Transporters of oil will need to carry enough insurance to cover the costs of response and clean-up in the case of a spill.