Washington and British Columbia Tackle Oil Movement Safety

Veda worked closely with Washington and British Columbia to design a 2-day information-sharing forum on inland, coastal and marine oil movement

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2-day Forum on Marine Oil Movement Safety

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The Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, Washington State Dept of Ecology, and the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategies


Oil moves across land, coastlines and marine waters of WA and B.C. by rail, pipeline and vessel. Both Canada and U.S. have different federal laws in place to ensure safe movement, as do the state and province. However, the lines of authority of how oil is transported and who would respond to a spill is not clear. As Executive Coordinator of the Pacific States/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, Veda coordinated the first of a three-year series of forums intended to increase information sharing across the Salish Sea region of WA and B.C. 


Veda designed a lively, engaging and educational forum consisting of panel discussions, presentations and small group discussions focused on the question: How does a barrel of oil move safely from the inland to marine waters and what happens when there’s a spill? The forum’s audience was all levels of government, Tribes and First Nations, industry representatives, environmental groups and academia. 


Veda coordinated the design, planning and facilitation of the 2-day forum held in Bellingham WA on October 3 & 4, 2018. Over 150 registered for the event from both sides of the border. The forum consisted of a series of panels with industry, tribes and First Nations, Local Governments and environmental groups sharing their knowledge, ideas and views on the movement of oil across the region. 


Participants came away with a deeper understanding of the authorities and spill response capabilities in the WA and BC shared waters region. Gaps in knowledge were identified through breakout group discussions, which led to commitments to future collaboration and coordination. Veda will coordinate two additional forums, in 2019 and 2020. 


Large pipeline projects and increased vessel traffic are expected in the Salish Sea region. With Veda's support, the Task Force, WA and B.C. have created an open venue for dialog and sharing information that will help to lead to safer oil transport and a cleaner environment. These forums are anticiapted to continue on a regular basis -- this will help ensure expanded knowledge and improved coordination in oil movement staftey across the transboundary region.


The WA state legislature

We are a society reliant on fossil fuels, and their transport is associated with risk. The Washington State Legislature provided funding for the Salish Sea Forum, to help share knowledge across our shared border to ensure long-term protection of our natural resources. We recognize that state resources are limited, so a big thanks to our state leadership for making this work a priority!

Wow - I am so impressed with the level of organization and attention to every detail. The facilitation was meaningful, thorough, and really encouraged everyone's participation. I have nothing but praise for this team who put the Forum together.

Participant of the 2018 Salish Sea Forum