Protecting West Coast From Oil Spills

oilsheenStates and provinces on the Pacific Ocean will gather this year in Seattle to discuss emerging issues in energy and how best to protect the West Coast from oil spills. The Washington Department of Ecology is hosting this year’s annual meeting.

The task force, known as the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, is composed of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii. The states will update one another on their spill-response programs and initiatives. They’ll also learn about how the transportation of energy is changing along the West Coast; characteristics of new and emerging fuels; arctic issues; and risks of oil spills from vessel traffic.

The meeting is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25, in the Microsoft Auditorium at the Seattle Central Public Library, 1000 Fourth Ave. The meeting is open to the public, and will be broadcast online. RSVP with Linda Helmick – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The task force was authorized by a Memorandum of Cooperation signed in 1989 by Governors of Alaska, Oregon, Washington and California, and the Premier of British Columbia following the Exxon Valdez and Nestucca oil spills. These events highlight the common concerns regarding oil spill risks shared by West Coast states and provinces, and the need for cooperation across shared borders.

The task force provides a forum where members can work together to implement regional initiatives to help protect 56,600 miles of coastline stretching from Alaska to California, and includes the Hawaiian archipelago.

The task force is committed to improving, preventing, preparing for and responding to oil spills. It collects and shares data on spills, coordinates spill prevention projects, and promotes regulatory safeguards.

Members include:

  • Thomas M. Cullen Jr., Administrator, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Gary Gill, Deputy Director, Hawaii Department of Health
  • Larry Hartig, Commissioner, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
  • Dale Jensen, Spills Program Manager, Washington Department of Ecology
  • Dick Pedersen, Director, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
  • Wes Shoemaker, Deputy Minister, British Columbia Ministry of the Environment

September 20, 2013/Washington State Department of Ecology News Release