OPB: Makah Nation concerned about oil tanker traffic in waters

"The Department of Ecology’s budget cuts have left shortcomings in cleanup equipment quality and capacity to store oil from spills, said Chad Bowechop, manager of the Makah Tribal Council’s Office of Marine Affairs. He said the tribe is deeply concerned about the increase in tanker traffic that passes tribal lands, which are located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca – the watery freeway for oil transport in the region.

He wants to see tribal knowledge tapped for spill preparation and response.

“Our feeling is nobody knows our treaty area, our waters better than our own fishermen and that’s why we’ve been working so hard to advocate the development of a tribal ‘vessel of opportunity’ program,” he said.

“Vessel of opportunity” programs enlist local fishing vessels and other commercial boats to help with an oil spill cleanup. During the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, hundreds of fishing vessels were hired to put out boom, skim oil and collect tar balls. The vessels are used in addition to Primary Response Contractors."

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NW Readiness For Oil Spills Drops As Risks Increase (Oregon Public Broadcasting 12/5)

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