Good afternoon,

On January 6, 2020 Ecology began a rulemaking to amend Chapter 173-185 WAC, Oil Movement by Rail and Pipeline Notification. This chapter establishes reporting standards for facilities that receive crude oil by rail and pipelines that transport crude oil through the state. The rule also describes reporting standards for Ecology to share information with tribes, emergency responders, local governments, and the public.

The rulemaking will implement Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 1578 and Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (ESSB) 5579, both passed in 2019 and codified in RCW 90.56.565 and 90.56.580. Through ESHB 1578 and ESSB 5579, the Legislature expanded reporting requirements for regulated facilities, pipelines, and Ecology, and placed statutory limits on the vapor pressure of crude oil that can be loaded or unloaded into or from a rail tank car by facilities.

Ecology is currently in the rule development phase. We planned to issue the formal rule proposal and begin the formal public comment period on June 17, 2020. However, Ecology has elected to delay this rulemaking pending further review of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s recent determination that the crude oil vapor pressure limit in Washington’s ESSB 5579 is preempted by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.

As additional information is available about the rulemaking timeline it will be posted on our website for the rulemaking:

If you have questions, please contact me at or (360) 701-2398.

Kim Morley

Washington State Department of Ecology

Spill Prevention, Preparedness, and Response Program

Phone: 360.701.2398 | Email: