Tag Archive for technology

Cantwell Introduces Bill to Jumpstart Oil Spill Response Capability


“Oil spills pose a threat to Washington’s coastal economy and to the health of our waterways,” said Cantwell. “We will continue to take every possible step to prevent a spill from reaching Washington’s shores. But we need to be equipped with the best technology available to minimize the damage to our waterways. It’s time to modernize our oil spill cleanup toolbox, and develop technology to clean up certain high-risk spills like tar sands oil. ” 


According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, a major spill would have a significant impact on Washington state’s coastal economy, which employs 165,000 people and generates $10.8 billion in annual economic activity. A spill would also severely hurt the state’s export dependent economy because international shipping would likely be severely restricted. Washington state’s waters support a huge variety of fish, shellfish, seabirds, marine mammals, and plants, including a number of Endangered Species Act-protected species such as Southern Resident orcas and Chinook salmon.


With updated oil spill response plans with new technology, cleaning up oil from incidents like the sinking of the vessel in Penn Cove in 2012 could occur more quickly and effectively. As of November 2012, some 254 vessels were listed on the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ ‘Derelict Vessel Removal Program.’


Major provisions in the Oil Spill Technology and Development Act of 2013 include:


  • Establishing a new oil spill research committee: The bill would streamline the Federal Oil Spill Research Committee made up of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Coast Guard, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of the Interior. This move was recommended in a Government Accountability Office report from 2011.


  • Building an oil spill research program: This research and development initiative would be overseen by the new committee and would spearhead the issuing of competitive grants to universities and other research institutions. These grants would award projects developing innovative methods for responding to oil spills.


  • Beginning comprehensive reviews of oil spill technology: The legislation would authorize the Coast Guard to thoroughly review and evaluate new oil spill response technology. The bill would also give the Coast Guard authority to review and update regional oil spill response plans every five years to ensure the best available technology is in place.


The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 demonstrated the chronic underinvestment in oil spill research and development. Currently, the industry lacks incentives and requirements to research, develop and adopt new cleanup technologies – even those that are proven effective. Among the new oil spill response technologies are oil solidifiers, blowout preventers, new techniques to break down spilled oil, fiber membranes to strain oil from water, and software to ensure equipment works properly during clean up.


Cantwell has played a leading role in pushing for a more comprehensive response to major oil spills. The U.S. Coast Guard Authorization Bill (HR 2838signed into law by President Obama on December 20, 2012, included Cantwell’s amendments requiring the Coast Guard to complete an analysis and recommend methods for managing and minimizing the potential increases in supertanker, tanker and barge traffic exporting Canadian tar sands oil.


In October 2010, President Obama signed legislation Cantwell authored that required the Coast Guard to pursue enforcement of international oil pollution agreements covering the high seas. It also required the Coast Guard to address the risk of spills resulting from oil transfer operations and from human error, and establish a grant program to reduce smaller spills on recreational boats or fishing vessels.  The bill also required the Coast Guard to complete a study to address cross-border spill response capabilities along Washington state’s shared maritime boundaries with Canada.


In July 2010, Cantwell chaired a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard about the lack of appropriate technology to respond to a major oil spill like Deepwater Horizon. At that hearing, Cantwell noted that spill response technologies have changed little between the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Aberdeen School Disitrict summer school program starts in August


Also this summer, all freshmen and seniors at Aberdeen High School will return to school for three days Aug. 26-28 prior to the official start of school on Wednesday, September 4. Freshmen will receive orientation to the high school, training on technology used in the school and information on what is required over the next four years in order to graduate.  Seniors will work on their portfolios and finalize with their teachers and counselors a plan for a successful senior year.


A number of students have registered to re-take the High School Proficiency Exam in reading and writing on August 13-15.   In order to help students prepare, the District is offering a HSPE Preparation Class on August 6-12.  Students can work with teachers to polish the reading and writing skills they need for the test. The deadline to register is August 1 through the Teaching and Learning Department at 538-2123. 


Aberdeen High School and Harbor High School are also offering math Collection of Evidence support on August 6-15.  A Collection of Evidence is another option for students to meet the state math requirement.  If students are nervous about passing the state math test, which is required for graduation, they can attend this summer session to begin working on the Collection of Evidence option to meet the state requirement.  Contact the high school office to learn more: Aberdeen High School at 538-2040 and Harbor High School at 538-2180.