Spill preparedness – Solution is in water

Monday, January 29, 2007 – Seattle Times
Letters to the editor

Since 1999, after initiation by the Navy, the state has kept a tug in Neah Bay for approximately 200 of the worst weather days of the year to assist ships passing through some of the nation’s most exposed and productive marine environments. It has proven itself by responding to 30 vessels to date.
State funds run out next year. Fortunately, the state Legislature and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., have proposed long-term solutions. Here’s how they can complement each other:
Cantwell, chair of the Coast Guard subcommittee, introduced S. 2440 requiring all vessels and facilities that file response plans with the Coast Guard to have a year-round contract with a tug in Neah Bay. We should urge passage of her bill this session.
Implementing regulations takes time to complete, so we also need to support the state Legislature’s HB1488 and SB 5553, creating a fee on refined oil transferred over water that will secure funding of the tug as well as solvency for the state’s oil-spill program. Once the federal rule comes into effect, the state fee could be reduced or redirected.
Both approaches are industry funded, but unlike a federal regulation, the state’s approach would be subject to fluctuations in revenue, tug pricing, availability and annual appropriations that have hindered the existing program.
— Fred Felleman, Seattle

~ by fredfelleman on January 29, 2007.

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