Oil Transportation Safety Bill 6269 Hearing

On February 15, the Senate Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on Oil Transportation Safety Bill 6269. SSB 6269 proposes to increase the oil spill tax by 2 cents per barrel and apply it to pipelines as well as railroads and vessels. It would raise $1.7 million in the 2018-19 biennium, and $2.7 million in the 2020-1 biennium. The proposal directs the Department of Ecology (ECY) to report on vessel safety in the Salish Sea and hold a forum with tribes and Canada.. ECY is also directed to update contingency plans for dilbit (diluted bitumen, the heavy oil from tar sands in Alberta). Senator Rankin from Orcas Island noted that, from 10% before, 40% of oil now comes through pipelines, so there need to expand the protections against especially tar sands oil (dilbit). Environmental groups (e.g., Sierra Club), the Makah tribe, and county council members testified in favor of bill. Business groups opposed a tax increase, asked for more risk analysis, and take authorization away from ECY.

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