Quinault Raise Alarm Yet Again After Two Oil Trains Derail in One Weekend – Indian Country Today

Two more derailments of oil-bearing trains last weekend, both in Wisconsin, have prompted the Quinault Nation to issue yet another warning about the dangers inherent in such transport.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com//2015/11/12/quinault-raise-alarm-yet-again-after-two-oil-trains-derail-one-weekend-162410?utm_source=Sightline%20Institute&utm_medium=web-email&utm_campaign=Sightline%20News%20Selections

Fifty Years of Oil Spills in Washington’s Waters – Siteline

For those of you who are relatively new to the Pacific NW, there is a history lesson for environmentalists in what we have already fought or had to deal with. The Boldt Decision, The Spotted Owl controversy and subsequent NW Forest Plan, the various incarnations of the Puget Sound Partnership, and also, the history of oil spills are some of these historical precedents. Just last week I spoke before a church group that was full of relatively new people to the Olympic Peninsula, people who are genuinely wanting to engage with the Tribes, and astonishingly to me, some of them did not know what the Boldt Decision was.

I for one, was sent on my current course of hard core activism for protection of our Salish Sea by the Dalco Passage spill. That spill, so ineptly handled by DOE and others, was the basis for my re-engagement in deep activism. It was also the basis of Governor Gregoire forming the Puget Sound Partnership.  I felt that I had to bring what limited talent I could to helping avoid another such event. This blog, is one of the outcomes of that anger over the failure of our State agencies to protect our waters.

So that you too, can understand why some of us “old timers” are so hard core. Maybe it won’t take another major spill to get you active. Here’s  a quick education care of Sightline, one of my favorite reads. Subscribe to them.


UPDATE: Monday- Barbara Foss Tows Disabled Freighter To Safety

Today’s report has the Barbara Foss at the scene, and is towing the disabled freighter to Prince Rupert. Interesting that it would take a US tug to save Canada from not having appropriate tugs available.


older reports.

Latest report is that the tow line has detached, but the ship is now 24 nautical miles off the coast and a tug should arrive before dawn on Sunday. The Coast Guard is also trying to re-attach the line. Here’s the AP story, as picked up by the Miami Herald.




While not out of the woods yet, at least the Canadian Coast Guard have put a tow line on the drifting freighter 9 miles off the Haida Gwaii, otherwise known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. They are awaiting tugs to come and try and get this under control. Here’s the Vancouver Sun story complete with photos from the Canadian Coast Guard as of this moment. It’s worth mentioning that freighters are not required to be double hulled vessels, as tankers are.


OLD MASSETT, HAIDA GWAII — Members of British Columbia’s Haida Nation are breathing a little easier, hoping they have avoided an environmental “catastrophe,” now that a Russian cargo ship carrying hundreds of tonnes of fuel is under tow.

The Canadian Forces’ joint rescue co-ordination centre in Victoria reported the Simushir lost power late Thursday night off Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, as it was making its way from Washington state to Russia.


If you have a subscription to satellite tracking of ships you can follow it from a link off of here.

BREAKING: Fuel-laden container ship adrift off coast of Haida Gwaii – West Coast Native News

There is a problem being reported 9 miles off the coast of Haida Gwaii, part of the islands otherwise known in non-native circles as the Queen Charlotte Islands. This is home to the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. This remote and unspoiled beautiful coast is now awaiting whether Canadian officials can muster anything like technical support from having this become the latest in the oil industry’s sordid history of spills in fish rich locales.

Let’s hope that the Canadian coast guard is up to the task, given it’s cuts over the last few years.

The ship is currently about nine miles off the coast of Haida Gwaii, at the southeast end of the island.

Called the Simushir, there are 11 crew members on board. The JRCC said the vessel master has sustained an unknown injury and they are sending a helicopter to rescue him.

The ship is carrying mining minerals, 400 tonnes of Bunker C fuel oil and 50 tonnes of diesel fuel.


25 Years Later, Exxon Valdez Spill Effects Linger – Associated Press

25 years later, and the pain and destruction just keeps on keepin on. This is why we are so hard core about protecting us from an oil spill. I want to point out that we should be very proud of the Coast Guard here in the Sound that have done an excellent job of vessel traffic control, and our politicians like Representative Kevin Van De Wege who helped push through the rescue tug at Neah Bay (with the help of the Tribes, many governmental and NGOs too over 15 years of work).  There are new threats coming, and the need to be ever vigilant is never going to leave. But we have done a great job up to now. Knock on wood.

Before the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico, there was the Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, at the time the nation’s largest oil spill.

The 987-foot tanker, carrying 53 million gallons of crude, struck Bligh Reef at 12:04 a.m. on March 24, 1989. Within hours, it unleashed an estimated 10.8 million gallons of thick, toxic crude oil into the water. Storms and currents then smeared it over 1,300 miles of shoreline.

Read the whole story at:


Drift Card Project Shows the impact of an Oil Spill – Globe and Mail

Experiment using plywood cards shows the effects of a major oil spill on the Strait, San Juans and beyond.

An interesting experiment generates unexpected results. And shows how vulnerable we all are to the massive increase in oil tankers that the Canadian Government is hell-bent on creating in the Straits just outside our windows. This issue is trans-border. The San Juans will be one of the first hit by a major spill. The beaches along the Strait are next.

A small piece of plywood that washed up in Haida Gwaii shows the potentially massive reach of an oil spill in the Salish Sea, say environmental groups studying the risks associated with Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of its Trans Mountain pipeline.


Hood Canal Bangor Oil Spill Update – Various Sources

Still, no one apparently has asked or answered whether the Navy was supposed to have been booming the area of the transfer prior to it being done. That is the critical question that could have averted the spill.

From the Kitsap Sun

No major effects seen from oil spill in Hood Canal
Kitsap Sun
BANGOR — An oil sheen on Hood Canal continued to dissipate Thursday, as Navy crews kept mopping up oil spilled at the Navy’s submarine base at Bangor. Volunteers combing the shoreline found no signs of oiled birds or other wildlife, nor has oil been observed on any beach outside Naval Base Kitsap, said Lisa Copeland, spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Ecology. The Ecology volunteers are trained to help implement geographic response plans, designed to mobilize personnel and equipment at environmentally sensitive areas. Anyone who notices any environmental effects from oil in Hood Canal is asked to call the state’s oiled-bird hotline, (800) 22-BIRDS, Copeland said.

To continue reading >> 

From the Department of Ecology

Thursday, February 13, 2014 3:30 PM

Monday afternoon, Feb. 10, Naval Base Kitsap Bangor, a part of the U.S. Naval installation in west Puget Sound experienced a spill from a waste-transfer system located on a pier into Hood Canal.

As part of the transfer system, a tank exists on the pier and accepts oily waste (water, hydraulic fluid, transmission fluid, lubricants, etc.) from ships. Monday, the tank system malfunctioned and overflowed. The Navy immediately began responding. They deployed 4000 feet of oil containment boom around the affected area and notified the Department of Ecology (Ecology) and the National Response Center/ U.S. Coast Guard. Early estimations of the spill were 150 gallons.

Early Tuesday, after further investigation and an aerial overflight by the U.S. Coast Guard a large sheen was observed on the water outside of the containment area. The Navy – along with its partners at the Coast Guard, Ecology and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) — established a Unified Command Center at Bangor. The spill was reassessed to be up to 2,000 gallons of oily waste.

Wednesday the cleanup continued and the Unified Command held a press conference at Salisbury Point Park, located near the Hood Canal Bridge. Seattle (KOMO) and local media attended.

Thursday morning another overflight was conducted to view the status of the sheen in the canal. Aerial observations showed the sheen in the canal dissipating. Ecology will continue to monitor until there is no threat of harm to wildlife or the environment. Cleanup efforts are focused on the Delta Pier where the product is recoverable.

Cleanup efforts are ongoing and include containing and skimming as much product from the water as possible; implementing local geographic response plans (which include booming naturally sensitive areas at Lofall, Devil’s Hole and Thorndyke Bay); and assessing shorelines.

No harmful effects to beaches, wildlife or marine life have been identified or reported.

The cleanup/recovery process is expected to continue over the next few days. Once complete, Ecology will begin to analyze data and provide information regarding how much product was recovered and its level of toxicity. Tuesday the Department of Health (DOH) issued a ‘precautionary recommendation’ to avoid harvesting or eating shellfish from Bangor north to the Hood Canal Bridge. Once DOH receives sample results from Ecology, they can reassess their recommendation.

Members of the public or community are urged to call 1-800-22-BIRDS if they notice oiled wildlife or beaches.


Beaches appear clean after Bangor naval base spill of oil, water mixture; shellfish harvest still suspended – PDN

I go on vacation for a few days and the Navy screws up Hood Canal…..I  wonder why they didn’t put boom in place around an active fuel transfer, which I believe is the law. Or is it? Also, interesting to note from the earlier story, listed at the bottom, that the Navy dismissed first reports from Washington State Ecology people, that the spill was much larger than they wanted to admit. This is distressing in that the Navy is likely to be very much a lead entity in larger spills that they might cause.

Officials with the Navy, the state Department of Ecology, the Coast Guard and Jefferson County Public Health continued Thursday to monitor the possible effects on wildlife of a 2,000-gallon spill earlier this week of an oil and water mixture at Bangor naval base.  “We haven’t yet seen any oil attached to birds or beaches,” said Lisa Copeland, Ecology spills manager. “But we are watching the situation very carefully and are most concerned with the spill’s effect on wildlife and the environment.” After the spill, the state Department of Health issued a shellfish advisory for Hood Canal from Brown Point on the Toandos Peninsula to the Hood Canal Bridge. Charlie Bermant reports.


Support local journalism. Subscribe to the PDN.

Earlier report of the oil spill:


The Navy is blaming a failed pump for its spill of nearly 2,000 gallons of oily wastewater into Puget Sound.

Tom Danaher, spokesman for Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, said the Navy was using a pumping system on one of its piers to remove oily bilge water from a ship late Monday.


Oil spill Community Preparedness and Response Workshop held in PT

Good turnout for today’s oil spill response workshop in Port Townsend. Lots of great information, and the ability to chat with representatives of the Coast Guard, and the Oil Spill Team Section, gave a good understanding of what are the processes, and what gaps exist in our ability to handle a spill, large or small, here in the area.

20131109-113719.jpgRobin DuPre from the NW Straits Foundation, sponsors of the workshops.

Mega-Ships Big Opportunity For Northwest Ports – KUOW.org

And the other questions not asked, is how much more fuel are these large ships carrying, and are they double hulled?

One of the world’s largest ships arrived at the Port of Tacoma Sunday morning. The Zim Djibouti slipped in at dawn, carrying loads of goods for big box stores. The vessel is 10,000 TEUs in size, meaning it holds 5,000 shipping containers. When the Zim Djibouti appeared on Sunday, fresh from a port in Vancouver, B.C., containers were 18 across on its upper deck. The ship is part of a new wave of cargo ships emerging from Asian shipyards. They’re super-sized to save fuel costs. Carolyn Adolph reports.

Cargo Ship Loses Steering just west of Port Angeles. Towed safely to PA for repairs.

Another reason all our work on getting rescue tugs and others involved in the protection of the Strait was a good idea. This time the rescue tug was not needed, but another tug from PA came to the rescue. I’ll update this story if there is reason to.

A cargo ship lost steering off Port Angeles just after midnight Wednesday and was towed into the Port Angeles Harbor for repair. The state Department of Ecology received a report from the state Emergency Management Division that the Grand Quest lost steering 6 nautical miles northwest of Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca just after 12:15 a.m. The Grand Quest is a 587-foot Panama-flagged auto carrier that left Astoria, Ore., at 5:35 p.m. Tuesday, and was on its way to Tacoma, according to the ship’s GPS locator beacon. The Brian S., a Port Angeles-based tug, towed the ship to anchor in Port Angeles at about 3 a.m., said Petty Officer Katelyn Tyson, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

Cargo ship loses steering, towed to Port Angeles for repairs  http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20130704/NEWS/307049991/cargo-ship-loses-steering-towed-to-port-angeles-for-repairs

Huge News! BC Government formally opposes Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline – CBC News

This is huge.

‘Our questions were not satisfactorily answered,’ environment minister says. The B.C. government has officially expressed its opposition to a proposal for the Northern Gateway pipeline project, saying it fails to address the province’s environmental concerns.

Read all about it.


Oil Spill Response Plan Covering 1,600 Vessels Approved for Puget Sound and Grays Harbor – KBKW

The Washington Department of Ecology has given its final approval of the Washington State Maritime Cooperative’s (WSMC) umbrella oil spill readiness plan that covers more than 1,600 commercial vessels that transit Puget Sound and Grays Harbor. WSMC’s oil spill readiness – or contingency – plan helps ensure that large commercial vessels can mount a rapid, aggressive and well coordinated response if they spill oil in state waters. The plan identifies the location of different response equipment such as oil containment boom, skimming and towing vessels and vacuum trucks in Puget Sound and Grays Harbor. It also identifies how the equipment will be mobilized by private response entities during a spill to minimize harm to important environmental, cultural and economic resources. Dave Haviland reports.


New skimmer preps Neah Bay for oil spills – PDN

The Makah and the State continue to work together to implement better oil spill cleanup. The story reminds us that over 1600 vessels pass through the Straits each year. I believe that number is on the low side though, especially when you consider the Canadian traffic. That would only be 5 to 6 ships a day. Has to be more than that.


Washington Adopts Tougher Oil Spill Preparedness Rules

Many of us that are working with the Puget Sound Partnership’s local groups have been working for over a year with Ecology to give feedback into these rule changes. Nice to see some output for all the hard work and long meetings.

The Washington Department of Ecology has formally adopted changes to two state rules protecting against the impacts of a potential major spill. The spill contingency plan rule sets requirements for oil spill readiness planning for oil tankers and tank vessels, commercial cargo and fish-processing vessels, passenger ships, refineries, liquid fuel pipelines and large oil-handling facilities operating in Washington. Ecology adopts new rules enhancing protection from major oil spills

A good article on it appears here:


BC Coast Guard Union Voices Concerns over Oil Shipments

The battle for protection of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the BC Coast goes on north of the border. The BC union of Coast Guard workers came out yesterday against Canadian Government proposals to slash the vessel monitoring stations along the coast. Additionally, they are looking to ease vessel call in rules as they approach the Strait. As stated in this column in earlier entries, our government and tribes ought to be protesting loudly to the Canadians about this issue. In a few years it will be too late.


Another Dalco Passage in the making as State & Federal Agencies Dawdle

Back in the early part of the last decade, a tug passing in the middle of the night saw an oil spill south of Vashon Island. After alerting the Coast Guard and the State, the tug captain left, expecting something would be done. 12 hours later State and CG people showed up, leading to an outrageous oil spill that seemed compounded by lack of action. The Governor called for an investigation and the whole incident led to the forming of the Puget Sound Partnership.

Fast forward to today. The Deep Sea, a 140-foot fishing vessel, that the State Derelict Vessel Program knew about but did nothing of any consequence, caught fire and sank almost three weeks ago. It’s been leaking oil ever since, forcing the closure of multimillion dollar local shellfish beds, the kinds of beds that the Puget Sound Partnership and the Governor are claiming they want to protect. The boat’s set to be removed from Penn Cove on Sunday. What’s taken so long? Is the Governor going to call for some changes that can stop this kind of nonsense once and for all? Our environmental activist organizations, such as People For Puget Sound, don’t even have a mention of it on their web site as of today (Friday, June 1).

Again, everyone seems asleep at the wheel, and unable to get anything of any consequence done to avoid this kind of fiasco in the first place.

I call on the Governor to get a sense of urgency about this situation, make changes to the Derelict Vessel Program, and making legal changes to bring this kind of negligence by the State to an end. When your car breaks down on the side of the road, it is routinely towed, usually within 24 hours, though it may not be a hazard to anyone. Why can’t a derelict vessel be towed in less than a week?

Sunken Vessel Off Whidbey Island to be Removed Sunday


Training available to handle oiled birds

It’s a not well understood issue with the public, that if there were an oil spill, that most volunteers could be turned away without proper training. Getting this training now would allow you to be put to work helping when it would be most needed. Here’s your chance!


Attached is registration information for the 2012 oiled wildlife class series, to be held June 2 and June 23 at the Clallam County Fairgrounds. The classes, sponsored by the Clallam Marine Resources Committee and Surfrider, offer training to volunteers who want to be able to help wildlife in the event of an oil spill. Actual wildlife (well, domesticated wildlife – ducks, actually) will be a part of the training – nothing like hands-on experience to make it real.

8-hour Hazwoper certification is required to take these classes. Class limit is 24 people per class.

You will receive a confirmation email once you have registered. You can click on the link in the pdf file, or directly on the link below:


Please call or write with any questions. I look forward to seeing you at oiled wildlife recovery class!

Thank you
Cathy Lear
Habitat Biologist
B.I.-&-S.-training-6-2-2012.jpgB I S training 6 2 2012

The oily truth, strait up: 800 tankers a year in Strait

As Victorians fuss about the idea of an expanded Kinder Morgan pipeline sending 350 oil tankers sliding past our front door every year, consider this: We already have 800 going the other way.

U.S. government statistics show 548 tankers entered Juan de Fuca Strait bound for Washington state ports in 2010.

Another 252 came in bound for Canada. Jack Knox unpacks the numbers.

The oily truth, strait up: 800 tankers a year http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Jack+Knox+oily+truth+strait+tankers+year/6522107/story.html


Clallam County Commissioner Mike Doherty on Gulf Oil Spill

Mike, who has been a strong supporter of oil spill prevention has been named to a task force helping develop rules. He comments on the second anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill.

Mike Doherty, a Callam County commissioner, and Lovel Pratt, a San Juan County Councilmember, speak out: Reflections on the 2nd Anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill,


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