Responsible party, not taxpayers, would cover costs of oil-spill cleanup under House-passed legislation


Legislation OK’d in the state Friday aims to avoid dipping into the state treasury if a catastrophic oil spill happens in Washington waters.

The cost of cleaning up a major oil spill can run into the many millions of dollars, and in a state like Washington, the risk is there every day. The state House in Olympia on Friday approved a bill guaranteeing that ship owners and their insurers will be in a position to pick up the tab if the worst comes to pass. Representative Mia Gregerson’s HB 1691 requires owners and operators of boats transporting petroleum products to have a certificate of financial responsibility, similar to a bond, attesting to their ability and responsibility to cover cleanup costs when and if their vessel spills oil.

GREGERSON: “The goal is to minimize the permanent, long-standing damage that can happen when a catastrophic spill happens. We want to make sure as they’re transporting the product through our community that they have the ability to protect us if there was a spill. By law we’re required to have car insurance if we choose to drive on our roads and streets. So we want the same in this case.”

Gregerson, a Democrat from SeaTac in south King County, represents Washington’s 33rd district. Her oil-spill bill passed the House 83-to-15 and will now be taken up by the state Senate.