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Ecology preparing for oil spills to Lake Washington, seeks public comment

Washington State Department of Ecology - Contributed art
Washington State Department of Ecology
— image credit: Contributed art

Billions of gallons of oil move through Washington’s waters and lands every year. With even more oil on the way, plans are being drafted for how best to respond if a spill ever hits Lake Washington.

The Washington Department of Ecology and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are preparing for an expected increase in oil transport through the state and, for the first time, are developing a response plan for Lake Washington.

Local, state and federal agencies have identified potential oil and hazmat threats, located sensitive areas, and developed booming strategies for the lake.

As part of the effort, Ecology compiled this information into a geographic response plan and is interested in community feedback.

This is an opportunity to review a plan that aims to protect the waters people enjoy, waterfront parks where children play, and the natural environment that benefits everyone. Community input is an important component of how well response plans are developed.

“Like the communities around the lake, we value the natural resources the lake offers with its numerous parks and boat launches,” said Dale Jensen, spills program manager. “We hope that a major spill never happens here, but it’s important that we’re prepared for one if we want to protect this valuable resource.”

Pre-planning for oil spills is the best preventive action to protect the environment. The plans are designed to help those who respond take immediate action to reduce the impact of spilled oil on sensitive natural, cultural and economic resources during the early hours of an oil spill and beyond.

When finalized, the Lake Washington the plan will be one of 20 oil spill response plans in Washington.

The comment period began March 3, and runs through April 15, 2014. All comments received will be reviewed and considered before the final version of the plan is produced.

The draft Lake Washington plan can be reviewed on Ecology's website.

To submit comments email: GRPs@ecy.wa.gov.

 

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