State needs upgraded response standards

Friday, November 12, 2004

Letters to the Editor

SPILLS

Gov. Gary Locke and his Department of Apology will convene yet another task force to address their latest discoveries — we have inclement weather, oil spills can occur at night and you cannot count on spillers to report when they spill. While fog adds challenges, it was not the underlying problem in the Dalco Pass Mystery Spill. The tugboat captain’s 1:15 a.m. report stated the night was clear and calm and remained that way for at least four hours.

Even if the state or the Coast Guard responded promptly, there was not enough equipment pre-staged to conduct an effective response as evidenced by the need for the Navy to respond and for equipment to be brought from Neah Bay, Port Angeles and Bellingham.

Rather than justifying our inability to effectively respond to a relatively small spill by mischaracterizing it as a worst-case scenario, the governor should seize the opportunity to upgrade the state’s spill response standards.

After the botched response to the 4,600 gallon Dec. 30 Foss spill at Point Wells, then as now, Ecology and Coast Guard officials praised it, instead of providing the Legislature with a realistic picture of all that went wrong.

While Ecology’s director has asserted they were “outlawing oil spills,” oil spills already are illegal and, despite our best efforts, they will continue to occur. The only question remains will the industry or public be required to mount an adequate response?

Fred Felleman
Ocean Advocates
Seattle

~ by fredfelleman on November 12, 2004.

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