Bill to toughen rules around oil transport clears key hurdle

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — A House bill aimed at increasing the safety around oil transportation on land and water has cleared a key committee.

The House Finance Committee amended and passed House Bill 1611. It awaits a vote by the full House.

The version that passed Thursday would raise the tax that is collected on crude oil received by vessel or trains by 2.5 cents a barrel, from 4 cents to 6.5 cents.

The measure, however, would not make pipelines that receive crude oil pay a per-barrel tax, as proposed initially.

The bill would also require tug escorts and other safety measures for certain oil tankers.

Rep. Gerry Pollet, a Seattle Democrat, said the bill fills an important need to increase safety and provides reliable funding to respond to spills.

Rep. Terry Nealy, a Republican from Dayton, called it an unnecessary tax increase.