Year in Review: July 2018-June 2019

Cover of 2019 Annual ReportThe Council’s latest annual report is now available!

The annual report covers the many programs and projects we’ve been working on over the past year, such as oil spill prevention and response, environmental monitoring, oil spill contingency plans, operations at the Valdez Marine Terminal, invasive species monitoring, our outreach efforts, and much more.

Download the report:

2018-19 Annual Report - Year In Review (5.4 MB)

News release: Board issues position on safeguarding Alaska’s oil spill prevention and response standards

Photo of the 2019-2020 Council Board of Directors

Input from public critical to protect Alaska coastlines and communities

The Council voted on October 29, 2019, to pass a resolution stating strong opposition to any legislative or regulatory changes that erode oil spill prevention and response standards, increase the risk of a catastrophic spill, or demonstrate a return of the complacency on the part of oil the industry and regulators that Congress determined to be a primary cause of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The resolution was prompted by a public scoping process recently opened by the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. The department is soliciting input from stakeholders, the public, and industry on areas where Alaska oil spill regulations (18 AAC 75, Article 4) and Alaska State Statute 46.04 (AS 46.04), Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Control, could be streamlined.

The council is concerned about the lack of specificity and transparency of the regulatory reform effort. The council recommends that the State of Alaska halt the current public scoping process until more information is provided to the public as to the driving factors that led to this regulatory and statutory reform initiative. It also strongly recommends that Alaskans interested in maintaining prevention and response standards designed to protect the state’s environment, people and economy from catastrophic oil spills contact the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to register their views regarding any weakening of existing safeguards.

“Strong statutes and regulations are a big part of why Alaska has not had a major oil spill since the Exxon Valdez disaster,” said Donna Schantz, executive director for the council. “The world-class oil spill prevention and response system for the Valdez Marine Terminal and associated oil tankers is a direct result of post-Exxon Valdez spill laws and regulations designed to protect Alaskans and our environment, as well as commercial and sport fishing, aquaculture, recreation, tourism, subsistence and cultural interests. It is unreasonable for the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to claim now, after 30 profitable years of industry compliance, that the requirements are too onerous.”

AS 46.04, the basis for oil spill regulations, contains many key laws designed to prevent oil spills and ensure that there are enough trained responders and equipment in place should prevention measures fail. For instance, AS 46.04 includes Alaska’s Oil Spill Response Planning Standard (RPS). The RPS was created after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill by a team of oil industry experts, attorneys, state employees, and spill response specialists as a direct result of the massive failure of the spill response system at that time.

The oil spill response framework – established in AS 46.04 and enhanced over time – is ultimately the product of years of hard work, critical thinking and creative problem-solving by a group of experienced professionals and passionate stakeholders who were impacted in some way by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. The RPS establishes a foundation that continues to distinguish Alaska, and particularly Prince William Sound, as having a world-class prevention, preparedness and response system.

Robert Archibald, board president for the council stated, “Protecting our communities and the environment is not burdensome, it is the cost of doing business in Alaska. Reducing any perceived burden to industry by rolling back or eliminating proven oil spill prevention and response requirements transfers the risk and burden of another oil spill to the communities, citizens and environment they were designed to protect. This initiative disregards the efforts of hundreds of Alaskans who worked tirelessly on improving regulatory requirements after the Exxon Valdez oil spill to ensure that our state would never again suffer a similar environmental disaster.”

Public input is needed to maintain the proven and effective prevention and response system in place in Alaska. After the public scoping, ADEC will review the input received and put forth any potential changes, followed by a formal public comment period for those proposed change. There is a 30-day minimum requirement for all state public comment periods.

During the current scoping period, the council encourages the public to provide input strongly opposing any legislative or regulatory changes that would erode oil spill prevention and response standards. Also, we encourage the public to insist on more than the required minimum 30-day public comment period for any proposed revisions put forth by ADEC. Adequate time must be provided to analyze proposed changes and gather input from all interested public stakeholders. This is essential to make sure proposed changes do not weaken important oil spill prevention and response measures that many people fought so hard to implement after the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Public input during the scoping process can be submitted through January 15, 2020: Submit comments on Alaska oil spill regulations (18 AAC 75, Article 4) and Alaska State Statute 46.04 (AS 46.04)

Public Input Needed On ADEC’s Oil Spill Contingency Plan Regulation Reform Initiative | November 4, 2019 | File size: 0.2 MB | Author: PWSRCAC

Press and media inquiries, please contact Brooke Taylor: 907.277.7222 or by email.

More information: Public input needed to safeguard state protections


Related content:

News release: Board issues position on safeguarding Alaska’s oil spill prevention and response standards

Photo of the 2019-2020 Council Board of Directors
Input from public critical to protect Alaska coastlines and communities The Council voted on October 29, 2019, to pass a ...
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Board Resolution 19-03: Safeguarding Alaska’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Standards

Photo of the 2019-2020 Council Board of Directors
The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council passed Resolution 19-03 on October 29, 2019: Safeguarding Alaska’s Oil Spill Prevention ...
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How Alaskans redefined oil spill prevention and response

Governor Steve Cowper signs into law a suite of bills developed to enhance Alaska’s oil spill preparedness in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Photo courtesy of David Rogers
Alaska, and Prince William Sound in particular, is known for its world-class oil spill prevention and response system. But it ...
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To submit comments: Public input critical to protect coastlines and communities in Alaska

Photo of the Valdez Duck Flats.
On October 15, 2019 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation opened a public scoping process to solicit comments and input from ...
Read more.

To submit comments: Public input critical to protect coastlines and communities in Alaska

Photo of the Valdez Duck Flats.

On October 15, 2019 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation opened a public scoping process to solicit comments and input from stakeholders, the public, and industry on areas where Alaska oil spill regulations (18 AAC 75, Article 4) and Alaska State Statute 46.04 (AS 46.04), Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution Control, could be streamlined.

The Council is encouraging the public to submit comments:

  • During the current scoping period, we encourage the public to provide input which strongly opposes any legislative or regulatory changes that would erode oil spill prevention and response standards.
  • After the public scoping, ADEC will review the input received and put forth any potential changes, followed by a formal public comment period for those proposed changes. There is a 30-day minimum required for such public comment periods. We encourage the public to insist on more than the required minimum 30-day public comment period for any proposed revisions put forth by ADEC. We must ensure adequate time to analyze proposed changes and gather input from all interested public stakeholders. This is essential to make sure proposed changes do not weaken important oil spill prevention and response measures that many people fought so hard to implement after the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

To submit your comments

Resources:

More information: 


Related content:

News release: Board issues position on safeguarding Alaska’s oil spill prevention and response standards

Photo of the 2019-2020 Council Board of Directors
Input from public critical to protect Alaska coastlines and communities The Council voted on October 29, 2019, to pass a ...
Read more.

Board Resolution 19-03: Safeguarding Alaska’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Standards

Photo of the 2019-2020 Council Board of Directors
The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council passed Resolution 19-03 on October 29, 2019: Safeguarding Alaska’s Oil Spill Prevention ...
Read more.

How Alaskans redefined oil spill prevention and response

Governor Steve Cowper signs into law a suite of bills developed to enhance Alaska’s oil spill preparedness in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Photo courtesy of David Rogers
Alaska, and Prince William Sound in particular, is known for its world-class oil spill prevention and response system. But it ...
Read more.

To submit comments: Public input critical to protect coastlines and communities in Alaska

Photo of the Valdez Duck Flats.
On October 15, 2019 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation opened a public scoping process to solicit comments and input from ...
Read more.

Board Resolution 19-03: Safeguarding Alaska’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Standards

Photo of the 2019-2020 Council Board of Directors
Cover of report titled "Alaska's Oil Spill Response Planning Standard - History and Legislative Intent
To find out more about the history and legislative intent of Alaska’s strong Response Planning Standards, read the Council’s August 2018 report: Alaska’s Oil Spill Response Planning Standard – History and Legislative Intent (Council report/PDF)

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council passed Resolution 19-03 on October 29, 2019: Safeguarding Alaska’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Standards

WHEREAS, after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, Congress found that complacency on the part of industry and regulators played a role in the spill, the public trust was broken, and one way to combat this complacency and rebuild trust was to involve the public, those with the most to lose in the event of a large spill, in decisions that affect the safe transportation of oil;

WHEREAS, Congress enacted the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 that included, among other things, the creation of citizen advisory councils for Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound;

WHEREAS, after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Alaska citizens and the Alaska Legislature worked together to protect the state from major oil spills by enacting comprehensive laws and regulations (Council report/PDF) dealing with prevention, response, contingency planning, financial responsibility, oversight, monitoring, and other subjects related to the safe handling and transportation of oil and other hazardous substances;

WHEREAS, these laws and regulations were based on real world experiences and the painful lessons of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and were crafted in coordination with State government and oil industry partners, requiring extensive compromise in the determined Response Planning Standards ;

WHEREAS, oil spill prevention and response contingency planning regulations were adopted by the State of Alaska in 1992, and the regulations have been revised on nine occasions to clarify the requirements, streamline the review process, and make the process of drafting contingency plans less onerous and the review of those plans more predictable and expeditious;

WHEREAS, as a result of post-Exxon Valdez oil spill laws and regulations, Alaska has world-class oil spill prevention and response requirements to protect its people and its environment, as well as commercial and sport fishing, aquaculture, recreation, tourism, subsistence, and cultural interests;

WHEREAS, on October 15, 2019, the State of Alaska’s Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner issued a public scoping notice seeking input on existing regulations and statutes because he has “heard from many Alaskans that contingency plans are unnecessarily burdensome while lacking corresponding environmental benefits,” and that his Department has identified regulations that can be eliminated or significantly reformed;

WHEREAS, despite repeated requests, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation has yet to identify the companies, organizations, or Alaskans that have said the existing system is too burdensome, or identify the regulations or statutes they believe can be eliminated or significantly reformed;

WHEREAS, it is unreasonable for the Department of Environmental Conservation to claim now, after 30 profitable years of industry compliance with the laws and regulations, that they are too burdensome, and this claim disregards the hard work of hundreds of Alaskans who worked tirelessly after the Exxon Valdez oil spill to create oil spill prevention and response standards, to ensure that the State of Alaska would never again suffer an environmental disaster like the Exxon Valdez oil spill;

WHEREAS, reducing the burden on industry by rolling back or eliminating proven oil spill prevention and response requirements transfers the risk and burden of another oil spill to the communities, citizens, and environment; and

WHEREAS, Alaska’s Congressional Delegation has steadfastly supported over the past thirty years prudent and sensible actions to help lessen the risks, trauma, and injury to Alaska from another major oil spill.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that, in its statutory advisory role, the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council strongly advises against any legislative or regulatory changes that erode oil spill prevention and response standards, increase the risk of a catastrophic spill, or demonstrate a return of the complacency on the part of oil the industry and regulators that Congress determined to be a primary cause of the Exxon Valdez oil spill;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council believes that, if the system created after the 1989 spill is weakened, Alaskans will likely face an increased risk of reliving another major oil spill that could damage Alaska’s commercial, sport and subsistence fishing, sport and subsistence hunting, other businesses, fish, wildlife, environment, and the culture and quality of life of the people;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council advises that the State of Alaska halt this Public Scoping process until detailed information is provided to the public as to the driving factors that led to this regulatory and statutory reform initiative, identifying the Alaskans, including individuals, companies and organizations, who have contacted them with claims that the existing regulations are too burdensome, and by providing information on the statutes and regulations the Department claims can be eliminated or significantly reformed; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council strongly recommends that Alaskans interested in maintaining safety standards designed to protect the state’s environment, people, and economy from catastrophic oil spills contact the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation to register their views regarding any weakening of existing safeguards.

PASSED and APPROVED by the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council Board of Directors on this 29th day of October, 2019.

Resolution 19-03: Safeguarding Alaska’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Standards | October 29, 2019 | File size: 0.4 MB | Author: PWSRCAC


Related content:

News release: Board issues position on safeguarding Alaska’s oil spill prevention and response standards

Photo of the 2019-2020 Council Board of Directors
Input from public critical to protect Alaska coastlines and communities The Council voted on October 29, 2019, to pass a ...
Read more.

Board Resolution 19-03: Safeguarding Alaska’s Oil Spill Prevention and Response Standards

Photo of the 2019-2020 Council Board of Directors
The Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council passed Resolution 19-03 on October 29, 2019: Safeguarding Alaska’s Oil Spill Prevention ...
Read more.

How Alaskans redefined oil spill prevention and response

Governor Steve Cowper signs into law a suite of bills developed to enhance Alaska’s oil spill preparedness in the wake of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Photo courtesy of David Rogers
Alaska, and Prince William Sound in particular, is known for its world-class oil spill prevention and response system. But it ...
Read more.

To submit comments: Public input critical to protect coastlines and communities in Alaska

Photo of the Valdez Duck Flats.
On October 15, 2019 Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation opened a public scoping process to solicit comments and input from ...
Read more.
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