-Update – Chris Dunagan goes into detail on this bill. This is really significant and is one of the most important pieces of legislation to help us protect our coasts since the Magnuson Act. Read the overview at
President Obama is expected to sign a sweeping authorization bill that reorganizes U.S Coast Guard operations, increases maritime safety rules and calls for improved oil-spill prevention and response in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
This bill has been blocked for over a year, so this is great news. It is a great win for everyone who fishes, or makes a living off people enjoying the Straits. Thanks are in order to Senator Cantwell and Senator Murray, as well as all the other people behind the scenes who pushed this, like Fred Felleman, People For Puget Sound, The Makah Nation, and many others. This has been a major effort for over 10 years. It is sad that it took losing the Gulf to get this over the hump, but we are there. Now to the House for a final vote. This also will help better protect fishermen who have the most dangerous job in America.
9/30 Seattle Times
Bill OK’d that overhauls fishing-industry safety, protects Sound
Seattle Times staff
The U.S. Senate late Wednesday night unanimously approved a Coast Guard authorization bill that includes a major overhaul of federal fishing-industry safety laws, and measures to strengthen efforts to prevent Puget Sound oil spills.
The bill was expected to soon be approved by the House of Representatives and sent to the President Obama for signing.
“It has been nearly four years in the making to get this important legislation through Congress,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wa., who chaired a Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the legislation. “This bill establishes new safety laws on oil-spill prevention and fishing vessel safety so that we can continue to operate in these pristine waters in a safe and effective manner.
…. The oil-spill provisions will include measures to expand oil-spill response capabilities around the entrance of Strait of Juan de Fuca and increase the role of Indian tribes in the response effort. The legislation will result in oil-spill response equipment, including booms and barriers, positioned along the strait.
Approximately 600 oil tankers and 3,000 oil barges travel each year through Puget Sound and carry about 15 billion gallons of oil to Washington refineries, according to Cantwell.