Ecology department releases rail oil report

OLYMPIA – According to figures provided to the Washington Department of Ecology, 618 million gallons of crude oil entered the state by rail during October, November and December 2016.

This first-of-its-kind quarterly report is available on Ecology’s website:

Collecting information on where, when and how much oil enters Washington by rail will allow emergency responders to better prepare for potential spills, derailments or other incidents.

The report is a product of the state’s newly-adopted rule that requires facilities that receive crude oil by rail to notify the state in advance. Ecology initially shares the information with emergency managers in potentially affected areas. The agency later publishes quarterly reports summarizing oil-movement information. The rule also applies to pipelines, which will provide biannual reports.

“We now have a more complete picture of crude oil moving through Washington because we have information about all modes of transport – vessel, rail and pipeline,” said Dale Jensen, Spills program manager. “Today, emergency responders know ahead of time that crude oil is moving through their communities and can better prepare for potential spills.”

Meanwhile, Ecology will soon provide many local emergency agencies with grants for oil spill response and firefighting equipment as part of the Oil Transportation Safety Act. Called the Equipment Cache Grant program, the funds will help the agencies prepare for oil-by-rail incidents. Ecology received 42 project proposals and this week is offering $777,000 to eligible projects.

“We still have more work to do to enhance safety, but it’s nice to see the progress,” Jensen said.

Other activities under the act can be viewed on Ecology’s website:


– Washington State Department of Ecology