Skagit Valley Herald: Grant helps Swinomish prepare for oil spills

The Skagit Valley Herald (subscription required) has an article about the Swinomish Tribe’s new oil-spill response trailer. The Quinault, Hoh, Makah, Lummi, Tulalip, Nisqually, Quileute and Port Gamble S’Klallam tribes also benefited from this Department of Ecology grant.

Grant helps Swinomish prepare for oil spills
By KATE MOSER Staff Writer

After 20 years of experience responding to oil spills, including Exxon-Valdez, Swinomish Police Sgt. James Lynch knows that there is a lot of work to be done for whoever responds the quickest.

“The bottom line is, whoever gets there with the boom first, God bless ’em,” Lynch said, referring to an oil-containment boom, which is a floating barrier used to corral the oil.

That’s why Lynch applied for a state Department of Ecology grant on behalf of the Swinomish Police Department, making oil-spill response equipment ready for use whenever any agency in Skagit County needs it.

Oil-spill response equipment from the DOE arrived at the Swinomish Police impound yard Wednesday, part of a $1.45 million grant program that the 2006 state Legislature established.

Container ships can carry up to 3 million gallons of fuel, and tanker ships carry crude oil in the Puget Sound, said David Byers, who leads the DOE’s oil-spill response efforts. The proximity of risks such as these make the Swinomish Tribe an obvious place to locate spill response equipment.

“The risk is there, and also we recognize that the Swinomish Tribe has tribal resources that are important to protect,” Byers said.