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West Coast US states to discuss how to best protect Pacific coastline from oil spills

A task force, known as the Pacific Sates/British Columbia Oil Spill Task Force, comprising of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii, are meeting in Seattle this week to consider emerging issues in energy and the best methods for protecting the Pacific coastline from the effect of oil spills.

The states will use the meeting as an opportunity to keep one another abreast of developments in their spill-response programmes and any new initiatives. Other issues for discussion include the changes related to the transportation of energy along the West Coast, properties of new and emerging fuels, Arctic issues, and the risk of oil spills from large volumes of vessel traffic.

The task force was legitimised after the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation in 1989 by the Governors of Alaska, Oregon, Washington and California, and the Premier of British Columbia in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez and Nestucca oil spills. Disasters such as these serve to illustrate the West Coast states and provinces shared concerns at the risk of an oil spill, and the need for tightly integrated cooperation across shared borders.

It is shared initiatives such as this task force that will enable states to improve spill prevention, spill containment and clean-up along the 56,600 miles of coastline stretching from Alaska to California and including the Hawaiian archipelago.

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