The state Department of Ecology has awarded a $250,000 contract to Environmental Research Consulting of New York for an analysis of the impacts of marine and rail oil transportation in Washington state.
The Legislature called for a study in this year's session. The Ecology Department is working in consultation with the Department of Transportation, Utilities and Transportation Commission, Washington Military Department's Emergency Management Division, the Federal Railroad Administration, and tribal governments.
ERC is to work with Ecology's technical team and statewide interest groups to produce a report that looks at the current and anticipated transportation and safety pictures for marine and rail, Ecology said in a news release. The report will also identify any gaps in the oil spill prevention, preparedness and response system.
The environmental agency says the oil transportation study and report will outline public health, safety, and environmental concerns; outline possible safety measures and their costs; offer recommendations for funding programs; and provide a risk communication strategy.
Gov. Jay Inslee has directed that initial finding and recommendations be completed by Oct. 1. The final report is due March 1, 2015.
More information about oil transportation in our state is available on Ecology's website. The department also provides an "Oil Movement" newsletter for periodic updates that is available by email at Lisa.Copeland@ecy.wa.gov.