Oil Spill Defense Act – Protecting Local Communities

ALERT 

 PLEASE HELP PACK A HEARING OF THE OIL/HAZARDOUS SPILL RESPONSE BILL FOR RAILROADS AND PIPELINES

To be introduced in the Minnesota House Transportation Finance Committee next week – tentatively Monday Mar 17 or Tuesday Mar 18 evening.  Bill language is being finalized this week after two informational meetings with the Commissioners of Public Safety, MN DOT, the director of Homeland Security in Minnesota as well as the State Fire Marshall.

We need a strong citizen turnout and a few citizen testifiers at this hearing. We understand this is difficult given the fluid nature of the bill hearing!

 

This Bill is an important addition to the work we are doing to address tar sands transport across Minnesota. We know first responders, pipeline and railroad operators do not have enough fire retardant, boom, and the heavy equipment to respond to a worst case oil spill. Oil tranporters need to be held financially accountable for supply caches, training and equipment to prepare for oil spills to protect our environment and communities. We need to ensure that our first responders have all that they need to respond to accidents as quickly as possible and keep damage to a minimum.

Check the schedule at http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/comm/committee.asp?comm=88027 later this week for the exact time of the hearing on the bill. I will also try to keep you informed of the time and date of the hearing, but please check the above link Monday AM.

The previous two informational hearings have provided excellent testimony from first responders and railroad unions as well as state agencies.  Media coverage has been great, especially for the first informational hearing.

Other States Activity

California has a 245 member strong state office of Oil Spill Prevention and Response with a $6.7 million budget funded by a 6.5 cents a barrel fee on crude oil shipped to refineries by tankers. They are looking at levying a fee on railroads as well.

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2014/01/10/214162/california-expects-more-crude.html

State of Washington currently has 5 cents per barrel fee on crude oil coming in by tankers and state senators are proposing is proposing 5 cents per barrel fee on railroads as well. (Fee is 5 cents when fund drops below 8 million, 4 cents when above)

http://earthfix.opb.org/energy/article/washington-state-senators-propose-tax-on-oil-train/