The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking public comment on the proposed decommissioning of their oil spill response equipment caches located throughout Alaska

UPDATE: Caches have been funded through September 2016. Please visit Budget cuts threaten spill response equipment in remote Alaska communities for more information.

Original post:

Oil spill cleanup response equipment is pre-positioned in remote areas to help local communities mount an early response to pollution incidents in order to minimize environmental damage.  The justification for their removal is mostly due to the cost of maintaining this equipment because of the remote location of many of the sites.  Another justification is that many of the caches are co-located with other oil spill response equipment owned by private oil spill response organizations or the State of Alaska.  More information on the specific locations of the USCG Alaska-based equipment caches, including a complete inventory of equipment at each location, can be found at:

D17 District Response Advisory Team (DRAT)

The council strongly supports retaining the USCG equipment caches in our region, including Chenega Bay, Cordova, Valdez, Port Graham, Seward, Kodiak, Homer and Kenai.  Equipment caches in locations outside our region are equally important for the same reasons, and span from the Pribilof Islands to Unalaska all the way down to Ketchikan (see U.S. Coast Guard map with specific locations).   In many cases, USCG-owned equipment may be the first and only line of defense to respond to and protect sensitive areas during the early hours of an oil spill.  Additionally, other equipment that may be co-located, but owned by private oil spill response organizations, may not necessarily be made available to a community for use on a spill that is not directly related to a client of that private organization.

Below is a letter the council submitted to the USCG in support of retaining these important oil spill response caches.  We encourage you to consider sending your own letter of support, or sending a letter endorsing our comments.  We also encourage you to distribute this information to other communities, organizations or individuals that might be interested.  The USCG needs to receive support from interested stakeholders in order to justify the funding required to maintain these equipment caches.

Comments are due to the U.S. Coast Guard by July 1, 2015 and should be directed to:

Admiral Dan Abel:  and LT James Nunez:

17th Coast Guard District

P.O. Box 25517

Juneau, AK  99802-5517

Specific questions to the USCG can be directed to LT James Nunez at (907) 463-2806.  Any questions regarding this transmittal or the PWSRCAC’s comments can be directed to Mark Swanson at (907) 834-5060.

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Update: Read more in the May issue of The Observer: Budget cuts threaten spill response equipment in remote Alaska communities