Cantwell bill would require Neah Bay tug

15 June 2007

By Jim Casey
Peninsula Daily News
NEAH BAY — U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell introduced a bill Thursday that would make shippers pay for a year-round rescue tug near Washington’s northwesternmost tip.
One environmentalist said Cantwell had seen the size of the shoes before her — the late Sen. Warren G. Magnuson’s — and decided to step into them.
“In fact, she has extended Magnuson’s protections to the far more neglected waters of the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca,” said Fred Felleman of the Seattle-based advocacy group Ocean Advocates.
Magnuson, he said, focused primarily on protecting Puget Sound, including banning supertankers from it.
Presently, there is no tug at Neah Bay.
The Gladiator departed early last month at the expiration of its winter-season contract with the state Department of Ecology.
Rescue tugs stationed each October to May since 1999 were dispatched 34 times — five times in the 2006-2007 season — to stand by or escort stricken vessels.
Cantwell, D-Mountlake Terrace, noted 15 billion gallons of oil pass through the state’s waters each year aboard 600 tankers and 3,000 barges.
Cantwell’s bill also would:
ä Direct the Coast Guard to route vessels away from environmentally sensitive areas.
ä Establish grants to help recreational boaters and fishers reduce the risk of spills from smaller vessels.
ä Station oil spill response equipment along the entire Strait.
ä Hold an oil spill drill in the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, which marked its 13th anniversary Thursday.
ä Grant $1 million annually to the state’s Oil Spill Advisory Council (on which Clallam County Commissioner Mike Doherty, D-Port Angeles, serves).
Cantwell chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard.
Her bill is titled the Oil Pollution Prevention and Response Act
Reporter Jim Casey can be reached at 360-417-3538 or at

~ by fredfelleman on June 15, 2007.

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