Dear Safe Shippers,
Here’s an issue close to our home and hearts — prevention of, and protection from, oil spills in the Salish Sea.
Washington State requires refineries to have a state-approved oil spill response plan that ensures their ability to respond to major oil spills, and the public (that’s us!) has an opportunity to comment.
Our Anacortes neighbor — the refinery that used to be called Tesoro, was then re-branded as Andeavor, and has now been bought by Marathon Oil — has a plan, but it’s not good enough. Marathon Oil’s plan for responding to oil spills, fires, explosions, and unsafe air quality does not go far enough to protect our communities, our waterways and wildlife, and all of us who live and work in this region.
Let’s tell them so!
Please submit your comments by 5:00 pm Thursday, November 15, 2018.
Via the Department of Ecology’s commenting portal for the “Andeavor Anacortes Refinery Oil Spill Response Plan” (because even Ecology can’t keep up with this refinery’s name changes!):
WHY THE PLAN FAILS THE SALISH SEA
Marathon Oil’s plan for responding to oil spills; including associated fires, explosions, and impacts to air quality; doesn’t even comply with existing state law. In turn, these laws need to be revised to more fully mitigate the current risks to our communities and marine ecosystem. We ask that the Department of Ecology take every step possible to require Marathon Oil to increase response preparedness in this plan, and we urge Ecology to implement regulations and requirements that more adequately respond to the risks posed by spills of non-floating oils and xylenes.
Marathon Oil’s Anacortes refinery has secured permits to manufacture and export xylenes (petrochemicals used in making plastics). The plan doesn’t include any mention of xylene, let alone how to respond to a xylene spill. Xylenes are toxic, highly volatile, and can leak into the soil, surface water or ground water where it may remain for months or more before it breaks down into other chemicals. This is not healthy for orcas and other living beings!
Require the oil spill contingency plan to increase response preparedness and:
• Include specific response plans and identify on-site response resources for both xylene spills and non-floating oil spills and associated fire, explosions, and fumes that impact air quality.
• Include specific response plans to address the benthic species and resources that would be impacted by non-floating oil spills — oils that submerge and sink, such as diluted bitumen (aka Alberta Tar Sands and dilbit crude oil).
• Revise the outdated Geographic Response Plans to better protect environmentally sensitive areas and wildlife, including endangered species such as the Southern Resident Killer Whales.
Marathon Oil’s Contingency Plan:
The “rebranding” of Anacortes refinery:
EPA Factsheet, Xylenes, 2016:
“Xylene: An overview of its health hazards and preventive measures”: