Rescue tug bill likely to finally pull throughBy lgordon | March 12th, 2009 | Category: Blog, Eye on Olympia, News |
By Sound News reporter Lyndsay Gordon
For the last ten years a rescue tug has been posted at Neah Bay and for the last ten years it has cost taxpayers approximately $3.5 million of tax payer money annually. This new bill would requires the oil, cargo, and cruise industries to pay for the tug boat operations potentially saving other programs during this economic crunch in addition to tax payers’ money. I interviewed Senator Kevin Ranker of the 40th Legislative District who brought the bill to the floor.
He was happy to explain his strategy that has allowed him, as a “freshmen” senator to make so much progress on such a controversial bill. A major part was that he began to work on the bill in the fall before he was sworn in. In addition, many senators bring dozens of bills to the table, but he brought only four. This strategy allowed him to concentrate the majority of his energy on those four bills creating a stronger base for each one.
For Senator Ranker the rescue tug was a high priority as he’d previously represented the San Juan County, which has the most shoreline of any county in the state. Now he represents the 40th district, which includes beautiful places like Bellingham and Anacortes that could also be damaged by an oil spill, making him increasingly adamant about the bill. During the interview he said that the bill “is a high priority, because we cannot afford to lose the first line of defense against a catastrophic oil spill.”
Senator Ranker is excited about how quickly the bill is moving forward and the amount of success already achieved. He expects the bill to make it to Governor Gregoire’s desk within the next few days, where he anticipates a quick approval as Gregoire has been among those trying to advance the bill. Ranker made a point of sharing the credit with anyone who’d worked on the law over the last ten years in addition to his senate colleagues, oil industry, ports, and various environmental agencies. Even though the oil, cargo, and cruise industries aren’t jumping for joy they see the bill as fair and equitable, which was Ranker’s goal.
Comments contact Lyndsay Gordon at email@example.com
Washington coast may get long-sought rescue tug (Seattle Times)
Time for all shippers to pay for the Neah Bay tug (Seattle Times)