OLYMPIA, Wash. (NEWS 1130) – Just weeks after a federal court put a stop to the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, Washington state says it has issues with the pipeline already in the ground.
The state wants the Canadian government to fix “deficiencies in critical areas” of its spill response plan for the over 100 km long portion of the Trans Mountain pipeline that travels down south.
A review of the spill response plan was triggered by Canada’s purchase of the pipeline.
“The Canadian government has expressed desires to own the pipeline, so before that change in ownership happens, we need to have an oil spill contingency plan in place in Washington state,” says Sandy Howard with the Washington Department of Ecology.
“So we did review the plan that was submitted, we found some shortcomings in it and now we’ve asked the company to address those within the next 60 days.”
The state wants to know more about how Canada would respond to a spill of heavy oils that may sink to the seafloor, how it would protect endangered killer whales, salmon, and other natural resources from a spill, the initial steps it would take after a spill is discovered, and how it would notify emergency contacts after an oil spill occurs.
“We had some legislation passed in Washington state earlier this year that’s requiring a lot more oversight of these heavy oils,” Howard adds.
WATCH: Trans Mountain pipeline questions
The review included a public consultation, which garnered about 14,000 responses.
“Most all of the comments were opposing any heavy oils coming into our state, opposing that the plan had enough detail to protect endangered species such as southern resident killer whales,” says Howard who adds many rejected plans for the pipeline expansion project, even though the consultation focused on the existing pipeline.
The Trans Mountain Corp., a newly formed Crown corporation, says it’s reviewing the department’s conditions and will respond within the 60-day period.
“Our top priority is the safety of the communities where we operate and Trans Mountain understands the most critical and responsible emergency management strategy is to prevent an incident from occurring at all,” it says in a statement.
“In the unlikely case of an emergency, we have detailed emergency response procedures and trained professionals who are prepared to quickly respond to any type of incident anywhere along the pipeline system.”