Spill Prevention and Emergency Preparedness
We consider spills of any volume to be unacceptable. We operate in environmentally sensitive areas and fully recognize that converting and transporting crude oil and refined products present risks to surrounding communities and ecosystems. Nothing is more important to us than protecting the safety and well-being of the communities where we live and operate.
To minimize risk, we’ve outlined a clear set of operational procedures and constantly refine them. All of our operations are guided by Emergency Response Plans that are analyzed, reviewed and approved by regulatory bodies such as the United States Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as many state and local agencies. These plans help us to anticipate potential emergencies that are specific to each operation, and then prepare and respond as needed.
If an incident occurs, we use the federally-mandated incident response system – the Incident Command System – to guide a rapid, aggressive and effective response. We hold approximately 30 spill response drills annually to understand how we can improve our preparedness strategies. We also provide our employees with thousands of hours of additional training each year to ensure they are ready to respond. Our experienced staff is well trained in the latest incident response techniques. In 2015, we were asked to consult on the drafting of a specific section of the 2016 Northwest Area Contingency Plan.
Beyond response training, Tesoro is also investing in state-of-the-art response and recovery technology to enhance our emergency preparedness. We contract with the country’s leading Oil Spill Response Organizations (OSROs) to ensure that we have dedicated resources and trained personnel ready to respond, should an incident occur. We have several response vessels in our fleet and additional vessels are available for our use in the event of an emergency. We also fund specialized training for emergency responders in areas where we transport our products to ensure they would be prepared to
assist if an incident happened.
We continue looking for opportunities to invest in prevention systems, incorporate new technologies and share learnings with others to help improve our emergency response capabilities.
Training Emergency Responders in New Technology Deployment
As a result of Tesoro’s demonstrated commitment to environmental stewardship, we were asked by the Washington State Department of Ecology to lead training for a variety of emergency responders in 2015. Specifically, Tesoro’s Contingency Planning and Emergency Response team led a hands-on training around the deployment and use of the Elastec BoomVane™ and MegaSecur Water-Gate® technologies.
Both technologies are used in response to spills, and they play an important role in our greater response and recovery strategies. While Tesoro aims to prevent all spills, understanding and fully employing the latest in spill response technologies is central to our success.
Nearly 30 representatives from the Washington Department of Ecology, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Coast Guard, BNSF Railway, the Marine Spill Response Corporation, the National Response Corporation, Global Diving, Tidewater and Tesoro Logistics attended the one-day training and practiced equipment deployment in the Lewis River, a tributary of the Columbia River.
Effective spill prevention and response is central to Tesoro’s role as an operator and an industry leader. We will continue to seek opportunities to share knowledge with environmental stakeholders, collaborative agencies and representatives of those communities where we operate.