Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Governor Gregoire signs bill to improve oil spill response programs

Today, on the one-year anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill, Governor Gregoire will sign into law House Bill 1186 to strengthen Washington oil spill preparedness programs.

Gulf spill was a sad reminder that these catastrophic events happen and that it is essential to be prepared, especially in Washington State where over 4000 vessels transport oil in and out of Puget Sound and along our coast every year.

HB 1186 will expand state programs to train volunteers, require regular oil spill drills and equip commercial fisherman to be first responders so that we are prepared in the event of a major oil spill. The bill also tasks the state Department of Ecology to improve requirements on oil tankers and other vessels traveling through state waters to stockpile state-of-the-art oil spill response equipment.

Huge thanks to Surfrider chapters and activists who generated letters, emails and phone calls to the legislator. And to People for Puget Sound who lead this initiative and have been a longtime champion on oil spill policies for Washington. This bill never would have moved without champions in the legislator – Rep. Christine Rolfes (Bainbridge Island), Rep. Zack Hudgins (Tukwila) and Sen Kevin Ranker (San Juan).

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