SEATTLE (AP) — Environmental regulators from the Northwest deliberated Wednesday about the dramatic changes in the way oil and other energy products are carried through the region.
At a task force meeting of West Coast states, Linda Pilkey-Jarvis of the Washington Department of Ecology described the sudden increase in oil trains coming into the state and traveling along the Columbia River. She said oil-spill response resources have typically focused on tanker traffic off the coast or pipeline routes, so the new transport strategies will require new tactics, new technologies and new personnel around inland water resources.
"We have quite a lot of work today as we start shifting our focus inland," Pilkey-Jarvis said.
Meanwhile, officials from British Columbia described how a proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and other ways of moving crude oil could lead to an increase in tanker traffic along the province's west coast and in water bodies close to Washington and Alaska. That increased traffic will also bring increased risk, officials said.
"There's big, big developments going on in British Columbia, and those developments are going to impact neighboring states," said D'Arcy Sego, emergency planning analyst at the Ministry of Environment in British Columbia.
Industry officials also attended a conference that was part of the task force meeting. They touted the safety of the transportation methods and the environmental oversight.
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