Only You Can Help Prevent Oil Spills

This is a Washington-State funded tug stationed year-round at Neah Bay to assist with disabled oil tankers. It may be all that comes between you and a disastrous spill. Read this blog and help keep our waters safe.
  This month marks that 22nd anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill of 11 million gallons of oil in Prince William Sound, Alaska. I still refuse to patronize Exxon/Mobil gas stations, even though I realize this is The One Spill that comes to mind when we think of catastrophic spill in U.S. waters.
  For those who live in Washington State, who remembers the 2003 Chevron Texaco spill? The 1999 New Carissa spill? How about the 1991 Tenyo Maru? Or the 1988 Nestucca spill? Each of these spills put hundreds of thousands of gallons of  oil (crude, fuel, diesel, etc) into Washington waters. A 2007 report on oil spills in Washington State published by the Department of Ecology lists dozens more spills as well as pipe-line and oil-processing facility spills. There are also dozens of listed "near misses" that occurred when tankers were grounded, lost power, or suffered accidents that could have had disastrous effects on Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca.
Here is what the BP Gulf oil spill slick would look like if the BP well had been located in Seattle. Blogger Brian Jackson posted this on the Environmental Defense Fund website, Naturally, the shape of a Puget Sound spill would be different (and on on the water/coastline) but this gives you an idea of the extent of such a disaster.
   In the wake of these disasters, the state has passed important legislation to help decrease the number of spills and increase funding for clean-ups following a spill. Yet, we are still at great risk as oil tankers ply our local waters. Some 15 billion gallons of oil is transported through the Northwest Straits and Puget Sound every year. And though we have bike lanes, sidewalks, and public busses where I live, I usually grab the car keys before planning out a better way. I am working on, but old habits die hard, especially when it's pouring rain and I'm running late.
  If you live in Washington State and you've saved just 5 minutes today by opting for the car, why not use that extra time to contact your local legislators to ask them to pass House Bill 1186 and Senate Bill 5439? These bills improve funding for the oil spill program, augment spill-response equipment, as well as provide training commercial fishermen to aid in oil-spill responses. Public hearings are scheduled this week so it's important to contact your representative now.
   These bills will help protect wildlife--everything from our iconic orca whales to our overlooked planktonic friends and my favorite endangered seabird, the marbled murrelet. This small seabird spends 90% of its life in on our outer coast, in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and in Puget Sound. Because of their size, these birds are quickly covered by oil and quickly drown..
    For information on the bill and the issues it addresses, go to Puget Sound Partnership.
    If you would like to feel personally responsible for saving an orca or a marbled murrlet or diatom, please contact your representatives.
    If you're scratching your head, follow this link to find out who are your legislators.