With the threat of the disastrous Trans Mountain Pipeline looming over the Pacific Northwest, Big Oil wants us to forget that tar sands crude oil is already moving through our beautiful state. That’s right. Toxic, sinking tar sands crude oil is coming in by barge through the Salish Sea, by pipeline through Whatcom and Skagit counties, and by train through Eastern Washington and along the Columbia River Gorge and the shores of the Puget Sound.
In addition to being one of the most climate-polluting fossil fuels on the planet, heavy tar sands crude oil sinks when spilled into the water, making it virtually impossible to clean up. A spill in Washington could cause irreparable damage to shoreline communities and vulnerable aquatic ecosystems.
Please join us in signing this petition and urge the Washington Department of Ecology to implement stronger rules.
To: Washington State Department of Ecology
We are writing to emphasize our conviction that more must be done to protect our waters from the heightened risk presented by non-floating oils. Washington is increasingly threatened by projects that would bring these uniquely damaging products into our already crowded and endangered waterways, threatening treaty rights, fisheries, local economies, and critical ecosystems.
Tar sands and other potentially non-floating oils are different than most crude oil that has traversed our state historically. Disasters like the tar sands spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan prove that these products are more likely to sink, and more likely to sink quickly. And once it has sunk, cleanup operations become all but impossible.
The legislature and the public have repeatedly expressed these concerns. We have asked, and ask again today, that you hold companies that would profit by shipping tar sands and other potentially non-floating oils through or near our waterways to a much higher standard of spill response preparedness. This means updating the outdated systems for calculating response capacity, accelerating the response timeline, and requiring that significantly more spill response equipment be staged.
We ask that these rules be strengthened rapidly, either as a change to the current rulemaking, or as an emergency rulemaking initiated immediately. We cannot wait another five years to protect our water.
Thank you for your consideration of our comments.