The new regulation, Chapter 173-185 WAC, Oil Movement by Rail and Pipeline Notification, establishes reporting standards for facilities receiving crude oil transported by rail and pipeline, the department said. The Washington state legislature in 2015 directed Ecology to develop the reporting requirements, which officially take effect Oct. 1.
In addition, the rule identifies reporting standards for the department to share information with emergency responders, local governments, tribes and the public.
More specifically, the rule establishes advance notice requirements for facilities that receive crude oil by rail, biannual notice requirements for pipelines that transport crude oil in or through the state, and penalties for non-compliance.
“Timely notice of oil movement information is needed for emergency responders and planners to effectively prepare for and respond to oil spills and other incidents associated with the transport of crude oil by rail and pipeline,” the department said of the new regulation. “Providing adequate information helps to protect the lives of people living and working near railroads and pipelines, the economy, and environmental resources of Washington state.”
“In the wake of recent oil train disasters, Washington is moving quickly to improve public safety and protect our natural resources,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, who signed the state’s Oil Transportation Safety Act in April 2015. “This rule will assure that our emergency responders get advanced notice before oil train shipments arrive in their communities.”
Several crude oil trains have been involved in destructive derailments in recent years, the largest of which claimed the lives of 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec in July 2013.
Back in June, a Union Pacific Corp. train carrying crude oil derailed near Mosier, Ore., about 68 miles east of Portland, causing some of the tank cars to burst into flames and spill oil into an adjacent section of the Columbia River. That train was en route from en route from Eastport, Idaho to Tacoma, Wash. carrying crude oil from the Bakken formation, which is more flammable and dangerous than other types of crude oil.